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Steele dossier's primary sub-source thought to be a Russian agent, deemed a 'national security threat'. The FBI knew — and used it anyway.



Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

When the Crossfire Hurricane team was using the Christopher Steele dossier to secure a surveillance warrant for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, they knew that its primary sub-source was deemed a possible "national security threat" and was previously the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.

The team's knowledge of the situation — and their failure to disclose it — was recently revealed in an FBI memo sent Thursday by Attorney General William Barr, CBS correspondent Catherine Herridge reported.

What are the details?

"Between May 2009 and March 2011, the FBI maintained an investigation into the individual who later would be identified as Christopher Steele's Primary Sub-source," the two-page memo states. "The FBI commenced this investigation based on information by the FBI indicating that the Primary Sub-source may be a threat to national security."

The investigation into the individual had allegedly been opened in 2009 after a "research fellow for an influential foreign policy advisor for the Obama administration" was approached by the individual, who indicated that if he or she "did get a job in the government and had access to classified information" and wanted "to make a little extra money," they knew people he or she could talk to.

The memo went on to state that the research fellow and a coworker who was present during the exchange considered the possibility that the individual may be a "Russian spy."

Later, a review of FBI databases showed that the individual had contact in 2005 and 2006 with the "Russian embassy and known Russian intelligence officers."

"In December 2016, the Crossfire Hurricane team identified the primary sub-source used by Christopher Steele and, at that time, became familiar with the 2009 investigation," the memo continued.

What does this mean?

The Crossfire Hurricane team appears to have launched an investigation into possible Russian collusion by the Trump campaign using a dossier sourced by someone who was under suspicion by the FBI of being a possible Russian agent.

Yet instead of disclosing that information to Congress at any point, the FBI chose to ignore the threat and use the individual's claims as a basis for surveilling Carter Page — once for the initial warrant and then three more times for surveillance renewals.

"Somewhere in Moscow, that must have gotten a big laugh," Ed Morrissey wrote at Hot Air.

What's more is that the individual in question apparently returned to the U.S. in 2017 and was subsequently interrogated by the FBI over a three-day period, during which he disavowed many of the claims in the dossier, according to Herridge.

Anything else?

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who released the memo that was sent to him by Barr, was enraged over the revelation.

"To me, failure of the FBI to inform the court that the Primary Sub-source was suspected of being a Russian agent is a breach of every duty owed by law enforcement to the judicial system," Graham said in a statement.

In the cover letter to Graham, Barr wrote that the new information, "which bears upon the FBI's knowledge concerning the reliability of the dossier," was brought to his attention as a part of U.S. Attorney John Durham's ongoing investigation into the Crossfire Hurricane probe.

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