Indeed, the memo indicates that the government went to unintentionally absurd lengths to portray the dossier’s claims as corroborated. In one application, the Obama administration argued the allegations were credible because they appeared independently in a Yahoo News report by Michael Isikoff. Unbeknownst to the FBI, however, Isikoff’s source was actually Steele. In effect, the dossier was offered as corroboration of itself.

The FBI was unaware Steele was telling the media the same information he was giving the government because he allegedly lied about his communications with reporters. This finally came to light when Steele gave an interview to left-leaning Mother Jones in which he exposed his status as an FBI informant, prompting the bureau to terminate their relationship.