There is no excusing these actions. The FBI had expressly told Mr. Steele not to speak to anybody outside the bureau about the dossier. And Mr. Steele failed to disclose these briefings, or perhaps lied about them, since the FBI assured the FISA court that he was not talking to the press.

Mr. Simpson has claimed he never told Mr. Steele that Fusion was working for Mrs. Clinton, and maybe the ex-spy didn’t know. Though this requires us to believe that the man who unraveled an international conspiracy could not discover the identity of his own ultimate paymaster—or didn’t care. Our super sleuth also didn’t bat an eye over sucking up information from two notorious Clinton political operators, Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer. Either Mr. Steele knew and actively worked to help the Clinton campaign, or he didn’t and was nonetheless willing to undercut the FBI at Mr. Simpson’s behest.