Christopher Steele’s lawyers claimed last year that he had “meticulously documented” his interactions with the main source for the various memos that became known as the Steele dossier. But last month in court, Steele admitted he no longer has any of that documentation. He claims all of it was deleted three years ago.
The Daily Caller’s exclusive is based on a deposition transcript from a British court where Steele is being sued for defamation by the owners of Alfa Bank. One portion of the dossier claimed the bank had made “illicit payments to Vladimir Putin.” A lawyer for the Alfa Bank owners asked Steele about the records and other documentation he had to back up the claims made in the dossier:
Steele said he had no records related to the creation of his dossier memos, including “Report 112” from the dossier, which dealt with the Alfa Bank owners.
“You have no record of anything, have you?” Tomlinson asked.
“I haven’t got any records relating to the creation of 112,” said Steele.
“Or indeed any of the other memoranda?”
“No, they were wiped in early January 2017.”
Steele said that a Hushmail account he used in late December 2016 was “wiped” clean. He also said that communications with Fusion GPS on his company’s computer network were scrubbed on Jan. 5, 2017.
Steele had previously rejected the conclusions of the Inspector General’s report which found that his primary sub-source had told the FBI Steele misrepresented some of the information he’d been given. One day after the report was released (last year) Steele’s lawyers claimed he could back up the accuracy of the dossier with reference to his meticulous notes and recordings. Now we learn that the notes and recordings had been deleted nearly three years earlier and no longer exist. What was the point of claiming Steele could back up his statements with notes if the lawyers knew the notes didn’t exist?
Earlier this month, declassified footnotes from IG Horowitz’ report revealed that the FBI believed in 2017 that Steele’s dossier was at least partly based on Russian disinformation. At the time I wrote about it, the exact dates of some of the events in question were still redacted. However, those redactions were later removed. They show that despite evidence the dossier was compromised with misinformation it was used as a key part of a FISA warrant application renewal targeting Trump campaign aide Carter Page. In fact, the FBI never mentioned the potential compromise to the court.
The FBI accused an American citizen of being a foreign agent based on a document which likely contained Russian disinformation. And now we know that any effort to double-check Steele’s work appears to be lost because he deleted all of his own notes and recordings.