The memo also reveals that the innuendo Steele promoted on behalf of the DNC became a hall of mirrors, in which one set of claims was echoed and amplified by strategic media leaks that were based on the very same source of misinformation: Steele himself. To corroborate information about Page that Steele had given to the FBI, the request for authority to spy on Page relied on a second source, a September 23, 2016 Yahoo News story by Michael Isikoff. But as the House committee’s memo reports, “This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.” Steele was eventually “suspended and then terminated as an FBI source” because he disclosed his contacts with the FBI to another journalist, David Corn of the left-leaning Mother Jones. No doubt Steele’s talk about his role as an FBI informant added an aura of authority to the tales he shopped around.
Were the FBI and Justice Department officials in question simply negligent in failing to inform the FISC about the partisan background to the claims Steele was making? The memo reveals that “before and after Steele was terminated as a source” by the FBI, he was in contact with then–Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, “a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein.” Steele told Ohr that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” As it happens, Ohr’s wife was an employee of Fusion GPS and working on anti-Trump opposition research for the firm, research also ultimately paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign. “The Ohrs’ relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC,” the memo relates.