The FBI failed to disclose crucial details about the political origins and dubious credibility of the claims included in an annex to the seminal Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia, according to a newly declassified record.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on June 11 declassified Annex A of the January 6, 2017, Intelligence Community Assessment titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.” Then FBI-Director James Comey personally briefed the “salacious” portion of the annex to President-elect Donald Trump on January 7, 2017. The annex consists of claims drawn from the infamous Steele dossier, as well as an assessment of the source of the dossier, Christopher Steele.
By the time the intelligence community published the assessment and the annex, the FBI was already aware that Steeles research was paid for by a client with political motives. More than a month prior to the publication, the FBI learned that Steeles research was going to the Hillary Clinton campaign and that Steele was “desperate” that Trump not be elected, according to the Department of Justice Inspector General. Four days after Comey briefed Trump, the FBI learned that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for Steeles research.
In early November of 2016, the FBI cut ties with Steele after learning that he was leaking to the media in violation of FBIs rules for confidential human sources. The bureau failed to include this detail in the annex despite mentioning that “the sources reporting appears to have been acquired by multiple Western press organizations starting in October.”
The FBI was also aware, but failed to disclose, that one of Steeles main sources was linked to Russian intelligence. According to a recently declassified footnote from the inspector generals report, “in October 2016, FBI investigators learned that one of Steeles main sources was linked to the Russian Intelligence Service (RIS), and was rumored to be a former KGB/SVR officer.”
The bureau was also aware that Russian intelligence was cognizant as early as July 2016 about Steeles election research, but did not include the information in the annex.
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