14:31 GMT06 March 2021
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    Declassified FBI documents have revealed Christopher Steele began working for the bureau months before being hired by the Democratic National Committee to do opposition research on Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Further, that connection was both known and repressed by the FBI when seeking FISA warrants on Trump affiliates.

    Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 US presidential election, reads an unredacted part of a typed summary by then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec. The document, obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Citizens United, describes an October 11, 2016, encounter between Kavalec and Steele, a former MI6 agent who in 2009 founded a research firm called Orbis Business Intelligence.

    Orbis was contracted by private political research firm Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Trump on behalf of the DNC in an effort to turn up incriminating dirt on the Republican candidate that would either destroy his reputation with voters or bar him from opposing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the election. Fusion GPS received $1.02 million for the job, and in turn paid Orbis $168,000, Sputnik reported.

    “Orbis undertook the investigation into the Russia/Trump connection at the behest of an institution he declined to identify that had been hacked,” Kavalec wrote. Investigative journalist John Solomon noted in a May 7 article for The Hill that this almost certainly refers to the DNC.

    “The institution approached them based on the recommendation of Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch (specialists in economic crime, formerly of the WSJ [Wall Street Journal]) and is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” Kavalec wrote. Simpson is the founder of Fusion GPS.

    However, Kavalec’s admission reveals the US government knew about Steele’s political motivations 10 days before the FBI filed a request for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page - a request based on Steele’s findings, which the FBI swore to the court came from a rock-solid source.

    Kevin Brock, the former FBI assistant director for intelligence, told Solomon that should have set off alarms at the FBI to reevaluate Steele’s reliability as a source.

    “Under normal circumstances, when you get information about the conduct of your source that gives rise to questions about their reliability or truthfulness, you usually go back and reevaluate their dependability and credibility,” Brock said. “It doesn’t always mean immediate discontinuation of the source. But there are policy requirements that you exercise some form of prudence, and conduct further vetting to determine whether this source can be utilized going forward. This is particularly true if the source’s information is being used in an affidavit or some other legal process.”

    The FBI has previously admitted to securing Steele’s services as early as July 2016, but the documents also reveal that Steele underwent training with the FBI on how to be a good informant - something the bureau calls “admonishment” - on February 2 of that year.

    The FBI did eventually fire Steele as an informant on November 1, 2016, after he was caught leaking information to news media. However, if they had followed up with Kavalec’s email, they would have found that Steele had already admitted to her that he’d been leaking tips to the news. Unfortunately, the recipients of Kavalec’s report were redacted in the FOIA release.

    “The issue here is whether the FBI disguised the origins of the Steele dossier and whether the FBI essentially allowed the DNC to use the FISA court for political purposes and whether the FBI itself was used by the DNC for political purposes,” Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books -“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup” and “America's Undeclared War” - told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Tuesday. “In other words, were the DNC succeeded in having the FBI, sort of bringing the FBI on board in its effort to get Trump.”

    Lazare noted the FBI spent years “lining up their ducks, getting their informants into place - mobilizing their forces in order to sort of somehow pursue this Russia angle.”

    “The Guardian reported that inter-agency chatter about Trump’s Russian connections had begun in late 2015, and inter-agency chatter among countries like Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, possibly France as well, and possibly Australia. So, clearly the intelligence agencies seem to have been revving up around this perceived problem of Trump’s Russia ties, and they seem to have gone into action. So, if … the FBI was somehow enlisting this well-known figure on Capitol Hill, Christopher Steele, they were lining him up, they were enlisting his services to serve as an informant.”

    Lazare recalled that in March of 2016, Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud made contact with the Trump administration’s new foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, at an event hosted by the Link Campus, a CIA school for Italian intelligence agents, and began “kind of nurturing, cultivating” him.

    Indeed, Papadopoulos told Sputnik in an April 2019 interview that Mifsud was part of a larger attempt by US intelligence to set him up as a “patsy” to “then use me and frame me to eventually undermine the Trump presidency and use me as some sort of conspiracy person that connects all the dots that never existed in the first place."

    "In Europe, there was open speculation that Hillary Clinton's personal server had been hacked, so when Joseph Mifsud told me this information, I thought he was validating a rumor,” Papadopoulos told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on April 24. “But then I was confused as to how he could have had inside information when this person couldn't even introduce me to the Russian ambassador in London after I asked him to at least five times."

    “The whole thing was in motion by early 2016 - and then the formal investigation only began in July, but the wheels were in motion beforehand,” Lazare said.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Loud and Clear, request, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), research, DNC, Carter Page, FISA Warrants, FBI, Russiagate, Steele dossier, Christopher Steele, Daniel Lazare
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