“Stay tuned next week,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo yesterday. The documents released on Friday by Graham as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee show that the FBI knew full well that the subsource for the Steele dossier was not based in Russia — and that he himself called it unreliable “bar talk” rather than actual sourced intelligence. The memo that Graham declassified shows that the FBI knew full well what that meant to the credibility of Christopher Steele’s dossier, and never told the FISA court in securing more warrants to surveil Carter Page.
Not only did the FBI repeatedly lie to the FISA court, Graham tells Bartiromo, he’s about to prove that the FBI lied to Congress about it, too. “Somebody needs to go to jail,” Graham warns:
BARTIROMO: What did the FBI say to Congress? Because I remember John Brennan in testimony to — in front of Trey Gowdy. And he said to Trey Gowdy, we did not use the dossier. It was a small part of the overall mosaic. What about the FBI and what it told Congress? Is lying to Congress a 10-year felony, as Trey Gowdy has said on this program?
GRAHAM: So, stay tuned. Next week, you are going to learn more. Not only do we now know that the FBI lied to the FISA court about the reliability of the dossier. They told the court that the subsource was truthful and cooperative and Russian-based. The truth of the matter is that the subsource was American-based. He was an employee of Christopher Steele, who was on the payroll of the Democratic Party. And he told Christopher Steele, this is all a bunch of hearsay. And when the FBI understood that the dossier was no longer reliable, they continued to use it. But we also now have found — and this will come out next week — that Congress got suspicious about the Russian subsource and the reliability of the Steele dossier and that members of Congress asked to be briefed about it.
I will tell you next week what I found. And here is what I think I’m going to be able to show to the public. Not only did the FBI lie to the court about the reliability of the Steele dossier. They also relied — lied to the Congress. And that is a separate crime.
BARTIROMO: So, that is a second criminal — that is a second criminal act, then?
GRAHAM: And this is in 2018. So, again, I want to emphasize this, that the Congress got suspicious, the Intelligence Committee did, about Steele and the reliability of the dossier. The intelligence community did not want to include the dossier in the intelligence assessment provided to President Trump about the 2016 campaign because they didn’t trust it. So, they started asking questions at the FBI in 2018 about the subsource and how reliable this information was. And I found the notes that the FBI used to prepare that briefing. Mr. Horowitz told us about them. I found them.
Stay tuned next week. You’re going to find, not only did the FBI lie to the FISA court. They lied their ass off to the Congress.
So who was this subsource? Graham doesn’t name him in the interview, but the memos reveal him to be Igor Dancheko, a researcher connected to the Brookings Institute. As Graham says, Dancheko was based in the US rather than Russia, which makes him a very odd choice for gathering intel from Russian sources. The New York Times complained over the weekend about Dancheko’s outing, but that seems like a strange complaint under the circumstances:
Not long after the early 2017 publication of a notorious dossier about President Trump jolted Washington, an expert in Russian politics told the F.B.I. he had been one of its key sources, drawing on his contacts to deliver information that would make up some of the most salacious and unproven assertions in the document.
The F.B.I. had approached the expert, a man named Igor Danchenko, as it vetted the dossier’s claims. He agreed to tell investigators what he knew with an important condition, people familiar with the matter said — that the F.B.I. keep his identity secret so he could protect himself, his sources and his family and friends in Russia.
But his hope of remaining anonymous evaporated last week after Attorney General William P. Barr directed the F.B.I. to declassify a redacted report about its three-day interview of Mr. Danchenko in 2017 and hand it over to Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Graham promptly made the interview summary public while calling the entire Russia investigation “corrupt.”
This wasn’t an FBI source, however; Dancheko worked for Steele, and the FBI needed to verify Dancheko’s reliability as Steele’s subsource, perhaps the primary subsource for the dossier. The FBI found that Dancheko not only didn’t think the information was reliable, he disputed that some of the information attributed to Dancheko had come from him at all:
- The document reveals that the primary “source” of Steele’s election reporting was not some well-connected current or former Russian official, but a non-Russian based contract employee of Christopher Steele’s firm. Moreover, it demonstrates that the information that Steele’s primary source provided him was second and third-hand information and rumor at best.
- Critically, the document shows that Steele’s “Primary Sub-source” disagreed with and was surprised by how information he gave Steele was then conveyed by Steele in the Steele dossier. For instance, the “Primary Sub-source”: did not recall or did not know where some of the information attributed to him or his sources came from; was never told about or never mentioned to Steele certain information attributed to him or his sources; he said that Steele re-characterized some of the information to make it more substantiated and less attenuated than it really was; that he would have described his sources differently; and, that Steele implied direct access to information where the access to information was indirect.
- In total, this document demonstrates that information from the Steele dossier, which “played a central and essential role” in the FISA warrants on Carter Page, should never have been presented to the FISA court.
This isn’t outing a whistleblower, no matter how the NYT spins it. Dancheko worked for Steele in putting together a bogus dossier, one which has had enormous impact on the US and its ability to govern properly. In fact, had the FBI been doing its job, Dancheko would have been less of a source and more of a suspect in what looks like a Russian disinformation campaign. We can go one further than that: if the FBI had been doing their job in January 2017, there would have been no need to declassify this document now, because the FBI would have called a stop to Operation Crossfire Hurricane and would have instead started investigating Steele.
The fact that the FBI continued the ridiculous Russia-collusion probe requires a complete and transparent probe into those decisions, who made them, and why. And if the FBI lied to the FISA court and also to Congress, then the people conveying and coordinating those lies intended to cover up something. Jail sounds like the appropriate place for those who participated in such a scheme, if Graham and John Durham can provide evidence of it.