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  Horowitz Report Chapter 6 Section IV

      IV. FBI Validation Efforts Following Steele's Closure as a CHS
IV. FBI Validation Efforts Following Steele 's Closure as a CHS

As described in Chapter Four, the FBI closed Steele as a CHS in November2016 after he disclosed his relationship with the FBI to a news outlet.
Although Steele was no longer a CHS, the FBI continued with its efforts to validate his reporting. This section describes those efforts.

A. Information from Persons with Direct Knowledge of Steele 's Work-Related Performance in a Prior Position

In mid-November and December 2016, FBI officials travelled abroad and met with persons who previously had professional contacts with Steele or had knowledge of his work.
According to Strzok, one of the purposes of the trips was to obtain information regarding Steele from persons with direct knowledge of Steele 's work-related performance in a prior position in order to help the FBI assess Steele 's reliability. Priestap said that it was not standard practice to take such a trip to assess a CHS, but in this case he believed it was important due to the nature of the information that the CHS provided and because the FBI was under a great deal of scrutiny. In his view,''[ t] he bottom line is we had concerns about the reporting the day we got it...[ S] ome of it was so sensational, that we just, we did not take it at face value.''

Priestap and Strzok took notes of the feedback that they received about Steele, some of which was positive and some of which was negative.
Their notes included positive comments such as" smart,''" person of integrity,''" no reason to doubt integrity'' and''[ i] f he reported it, he believed it.'' Priestap told us that his impression was that Steele 's former colleagues considered Steele to be a" Russia expert'' and very competent in his work. However, Priestap and Strzok also were provided with various negative comments concerning Steele 's judgment. Their notes stated:''[ d] emonstrates lack of self-awareness, poor judgment;''''[ k] een to help'' but" underpinned by poor judgment;''" Judgment: pursuing people with political risk but no intel value;''''[ d] id n't always exercise great judgment sometimes[ he] believes he knows best;'' and''[ r] eporting in good faith, but not clear what he would have done to validate.'' Priestap told us that he understood the commentary on Steele 's judgment to mean that Steele strongly believed in his convictions, which did not always align with management 's convictions, leading to conflicts over priorities. Strzok described the feedback as follows:

And many of them... almost without exception said, look, he is truthful.
He has never been accused of, nor did anybody think he is an embellisher, let alone a fabricator. That, if anything, he, to the extent there were negatives, it was that he was the type of person who would sometimes follow the shiny object without, perhaps, a deep set of judgment about the risk that may or may not be there in terms of following the shiny object. But in any event, he was not the type of person who would fabricate something or make something up or mischaracterize it, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Priestap said he interpreted the comments about Steele 's judgment to mean that" if he latched on to something... he thought that was the most important thing on the face of this earth'' and added that this personality trait does n't necessarily" jump out as a particularly bad or horrible[ one]'' because, as a manager, it can be helpful if the" people reporting to[ you] think the stuff they 're working on is the most important thing going on'' and use their best efforts to pursue it.
Information from these meetings was shared with the Crossfire Hurricane team. However, we found that it was not memorialized in Steele 's Delta file and therefore not considered in a validation review conducted by the FBI 's Validation Management Unit( VMU) in early 2017. In addition, as described in Chapter Eight, some of the relevant details about Steele 's work-related performance in a prior position were not shared with QI and were not included in any of the Carter Page FISA renewal applications, even though the applications relied upon Steele 's reporting.

The FBI 's Human Source Validation Review of Steele in March 2017

Another method that the FBI utilized to evaluate Steele was the FBI 's standard validation rocess.
As we described in Chapter Two, the validation process. Throughout the FBI 's operation of Steele as a CHS, Handling Agent 1 regularly submitted-- source reports that furnished information relevant to these factors. With the exception of Steele 's last annual report, which described his disclosure of information to the media and resulted in his closure for cause, the reports depict Steele positively with no derogatory information noted. For example, the 2015 annual report states that''[ s] ource provided relevant and significant intel on activities of Eurasian criminals to include QC[ organized crime] members and associates, businessmen/oligarchs and politicians.'' The annual reports also noted that some of Steele 's information had been corroborated.

The FBI continued its validation efforts into 2017 after SSA 1 requested that VMU perform a Human Source Validation Review( HSVR) on Steele.
SSA 1 explained that" I wanted to ensure that an independent asset validation was conducted by our Directorate of Intelligence, and not just the people that were working the Crossfire Hurricane case, to ensure the totality of his information was being looked at.'' SSA 3, who started work on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation in January 2017, and others recalled that there were multiple discussions about the need to complete an HSVR and that initiation of the review had been delayed for several weeks. VMU completed its report on March 23, 2017 after evaluating Steele 's Delta file, conducting various database searches, and engaging in a limited email exchange with Handling Agent 1 as well as an agent on the Crossfire Hurricane team. The VMU assessment did not independently corroborate information in the Steele election reporting, but it did include searching inside FBI and U.S. government holdings, including Delta, for such corroboration.

The validation report made a number of findings.
The VMU found no issues regarding Steele 's reliability or nothing to suggest that he had fabricated information, and determined that he was" suitable for continued operation'' based on his authenticity and reliability. The report noted, however, that Steele was closed due to his disclosure of his FBI relationshi to an online ublication. The report also noted two compliance issues.

The" Summary'' portion of the validation report included the following text:

VMU assesses it is likely[ Steele] has contributed to the FBl 's Criminal Program.
VMU makes this assessment with medium confidence, based on the fact that[ Steele 's] reporting has been minimally corroborated; his or her access and placement is commensurate with his or her reporting; and on the presence of one major control issue[ the disclosure to the media] noted in[ Steele 's] Delta file.

Handling Agent 1 told us that the findin ยท g that Steele 's past criminal reporting was" minimally corroborated'' was consistent with his understanding of the entire collection of Steele 's reporting to the FBI.
However, Priestap, who previously oversaw the work of VMU in his capacity as Deputy Assistant Director in the Directorate of Intelligence, explained that when he reviewed the Steele validation report it" jump[ ed] out'' to him that the report indicated that Steele 's reporting was" minimally corroborated.'' He stated:" I had always understood that[ Steele] had a long, successful track record of reporting, that had withstood, in effect, judicial or court-of-law scrutiny, and so when I saw` minimally corroborated,' that was different than I had understood it.''

The validation report summary did not appear to assess Steele 's counterintelligence and election reporting.
We asked the Unit Chief of VMU( Validation SSA), about this and he told us''[ w] e did not find corroboration for the[ Steele election reporting]'' from the holdings that VMU examined. He explained that, within the validation context, the term" corroboration'' means that the FBI has received the same information from a separate source, and added that" uncorroborated'' does not mean the information is untrue or provide a basis for closing the source. We asked why that finding did not appear in the validation report. The Validation SSA explained that" it 's not common practice for us to go in and state the negative upfront,'' and" what we do is we speak to what we positively find.'' He added:" I think it is a logical way to stay within the bounds of staying with what we know. As opposed to telling you all the things we do n't know.''

The VMU 's decision to not include in the validation report that it did not find corroboration for Steele 's election reporting came as a surprise to the FBI officials we interviewed.
For example, Priestap told us that omitting that the''[ Steele election reporting]'' information was uncorroborated" defeats the whole purpose of us asking them to do the validation reporting.'' Priestap continued:

[ T] hat makes no sense to me.
The whole point of having a human source validation section outside of the operational divisions is to provide an absolutely independent, unbiased, completely unbiased, look at the human sources. They have to do a report at the end. It 's simply the way in which they document their findings. It is beyond me how somebody would undertake that effort and then not document their findings in that regard. That, to me, that goes against everything I stand for. It goes against what my organization stands for, it 's like you are burying the results.

Strzok said that the validation report 's lack of clarity was consistent with his past experience with VMU, and that VMU 's work is" frequently ambiguous or perhaps not written with the level of precision and specificity and expertise that might be desired.''
He also stated that validation reports are" rarely helpful.'' Both the Intel Section Chief and Supervisory Intel Analyst said that they did not agree with the Validation SSA 's conclusion that the Steele[ election reporting] was" uncorroborated.'' They explained that there is a distinction between facts and allegations, and that it would not be appropriate to characterize all of the factual information in the Steele election reporting as" uncorroborated.''

The FBI Identifies and Interviews the Primary Sub-Source in Early 2017

An important aspect of the FBI 's assessment of Steele 's election reporting involved evaluating Steele 's source network, especially whether the sub-sources had access to reliable information.
As noted in the first FISA application, Steele relied on a primary sub-source( Primary Sub-source) for information, and this Primary Sub-source used a network of sub-sources to gather the information that was relayed to Steele; Steele himself was not the originating source of any of the factual information in his reporting. The FBI employed multiple methods in an effort to ascertain the identities of the sub-sources within the network, including meeting with Steele in October 2016( prior to him being closed for cause) and conducting various investigative inquiries. For example, the FBI determined it was plausible that at least some of the sub-sources had access to intelligence pertinent to events described in Steele 's election reporting. Additionally, the FBI 's evaluation of Steele 's sub-sources generated some corroboration for the election reporting( primarily routine facts about dates, locations, and occupational positions that was mostly public source information). Further, by January 2017 the FBI was able to identify and arrange a meeting with the Primary Sub-source.

The FBI conducted interviews of the Primary Sub-source in January, March, and May 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting.
In particular, the FBI 's interview with Steele 's Primary Subsource in January 2017, shortly after the FBI filed the Carter Page FISA Renewal Application No. 1 and months prior to Renewal Application No. 2, raised doubts about the reliability of Steele 's descriptions of information in his election reports. During the FBI 's January interview, at which Case Agent 1, the Supervisory Intel Analyst, and representatives of NSD were present, the Primary Sub-source told the FBI that he/she had not seen Steele 's reports until they became public that month, and that he/she made statements indicating that Steele misstated or exaggerated the Primary Sub-source 's statements in multiple sections of the reporting. For example, the Primary Sub-source told the FBI that, while Report 80 stated that Trump 's alleged sexual activities at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow had been" confirmed'' by a senior, western staff member at the hotel, the Primary Sub-source explained that he/she reported to Steele that Trump 's alleged unorthodox sexual activity at the Ritz Carlton hotel was" rumor and speculation'' and that he/she had not been able to confirm the story. A second example provided by the Primary Sub-source was Report 134 's description of a meeting allegedly held between Carter Page and Igor Sechin, the President of Rosneft, a Russian energy conglomerate. Report 134 stated that, according to a" close associate'' of Sechin, Sechin offered" PAGE/ TRUMP 's associates the brokerage of up to a 19 percent( privatized) stake in Rosneft'' in return for the lifting of sanctions against the company The Primary Sub-source told the FBI that one of his/her subsources furnished information for that part of Report 134 through a text message, but said that the sub-source never stated that Sechin had offered a brokerage interest to Page. We reviewed the texts and did not find any discussion of a bribe, whether as an interest in Rosneft itself or a" brokerage.''

The Primary Sub-source was questioned again by the FBI beginning in March 2017 about the election reporting and his/her communications with Steele.
The Washington Field Office agent( WFO Agent 1) who conducted that interview and others after it told the OIG that the Primary Sub-source felt that the tenor of Steele 's reports was far more" conclusive'' than was justified. The Primary Subsource also stated that he/she never expected Steele to put the Primary Subsource 's statements in reports or present them as facts. According to WFO Agent 1, the Primary Sub-source said he/she made it clear to Steele that he/she had no proof to support the statements from his/her sub-sources and that" it was just talk.'' WFO Agent 1 said that the Primary Sub-source explained that his/her information came from" word of mouth and hearsay;''" conversation that[ he/she] had with friends over beers;'' and that some of the information, such as allegations about Trump 's sexual activities, were statements he/she heard made in" jest.'' The Primary Sub-source also told WFO Agent 1 that he/she believed that the other sub-sources exaggerated their access to information and the relevance of that information to his/her requests. The Primary Sub-source told WFO Agent 1 that he/she" takes what[ sub-sources] tell[ him/her] with` a grain of salt.'''

In addition, the FBI interviews with the Primary Sub-source revealed that Steele did not have good insight into how many degrees of separation existed between the Primary Sub-source 's sub-sources and the persons quoted in the reporting, and that it could have been multiple layers of hearsay upon hearsay.
For example, the Primary Sub-source stated to WFO Agent 1 that, in contrast to the impression left from the election reports, his/her sub-sources did not have direct access to the persons they were reporting on. Instead, the Primary Sub-source told WFO Agent 1 that their information was" from someone else who may have had access.''

The Primary Sub-source also informed WFO Agent 1 that Steele tasked him/her after the 2016 U.S. elections to find corroboration for the election reporting and that the Primary Sub-source could find none.
According to WFO Agent 1, during an interview in May 2017, the Primary Sub-source said the corroboration was" zero.'' The Primary Sub-source had reported the same conclusion to the Crossfire Hurricane team members who interviewed him/ her in January 2017.

Following the January interview with the Primary Sub-source, on February 15, 2017, Strzok forwarded by email to Priestap and others a news article referencing the Steele election reporting; Strzok commented that" recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal[ Steele] may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his sub-source network.''
According to the Supervisory Intel Analyst, the cause for the discrepancies between the election reporting and explanations later provided to the FBI by Steele 's Primary Sub-source and sub-sources about the reporting was difficult to discern and could be attributed to a number of factors. These included miscommunications between Steele and the Primary Sub-source, exaggerations or misrepresentations by Steele about the information he obtained, or misrepresentations by the Primary Sub-source and/or sub-sources when questioned by the FBI about the information they conveyed to Steele or the Primary Sub-source.

Another factor complicating the FBI 's assessment of the Steele election reporting was the Primary Sub-source 's statement to the FBI that he/she believed that information presented as fact in the reporting included his/her and Steele 's" analytical conclusions'' and" analytical judgments,'' and not just reporting from sub-sources.
For example, Report 80 provides that:

Speaking separately in June 2016, Source B( the former top-level Russian intelligence officer) asserted that Trump 's unorthodox behavior in Russia over the years had provided the authorities there with enough embarrassing material on the now Republican presidential candidate to be able to blackmail him if they so wished.

The Primary Sub-source told the FBI that" the ability to blackmail Trump was[ the sub-source 's]` logical conclusion' rather than reporting,'' even though it is presented as a statement from a sub-source.
The Primary Sub-source noted another example of this practice in Report 135, which states:

Referring back to the( surprise) sacking of Sergei Ivanov as Head of PA[ Presidential Administration] in August 2016, his replacement by Anton VAINO and the appointment of former Russian premier Sergei KIRIYENKO to another senior position in the PA, the Kremlin insider repeated that this had been directly connected to the TRUMP support operation and the need to cover up now that it was being exposed by the USG and in the western media.

Report 111 also contains similar information to Report 135, namely that Ivanov was" sacked'' due to his association with the Russian 's U.S. election operation.
The Primary Sub-source explained to the FBI that the connection between Ivanov 's replacement and" fallout over Russia 's influence efforts against the U.S. election'' was the Primary Sub-source 's" analytical conclusion.'' The Primary Sub-source told the FBI that he/she was careful to identify his/her analytical conclusions to Steele and to offer a confidence level in them( e.g. _ possible vs. likely). We took note of the fact that, on December 1, 2016.

The Supervisory Intel Analyst, as well as Steele, told us that blending judgments with assertions is not an appropriate way to report intelligence.
Steele told us that he would hope that his reports were clear on what a source stated, what was assumed by the source, and what was analysis. However, Strzok told the OIG that the blending in Steele 's reporting of analysis with statements from the sub-sources" posed problems'' for the FBI. Strzok explained that" to understand what the individual source said we can no longer assume this guy said all of this. It 's really[ Steele] added on or[ the Primary Sub-source] added on.''

As discussed in Chapter Eight, Carter Page FISA Renewal Application Nos. 2 and 3 advised the court that following the January interview with the Primary Subsource" the FBI found the Russian-based sub-source to be truthful and cooperative.''
Renewal Application Nos. 2 and 3 continued to rely on the Steele information, without any revisions or notice to the court that the Primary Subsource contradicted the Steele election reporting on key issues described in the renewal applications. We found no evidence that the Crossfire Hurricane team ever considered whether any of the inconsistencies warranted reconsideration of the FBI 's previous assessment of the reliability of the Steele election reports, or notice to OI or the court for the subsequent renewal applications.

The FBI Obtains Additional Information about the Reliability of Steele 's Reporting after FISA Renewal Application No. 3

Crossfire Hurricane team members told us that in the spring 2017 they determined that they needed to interview Steele more extensively about his election reporting and ask questions to account for new information that the Primary Sub-source had provided during his/her interview.
The Supervisory Intel Analyst explained that the team members believed that an interview with Steele" would be a good way of potentially looking to see whether or not[ the Primary Sub-source] is giving us accurate information[ or] did[ the Primary Sub-source] tell[ Steele] something different.'' The FBI sought to obtain additional information about Steele 's sub-sources prior to the interview and encountered some logistical delays in arranging it. The interview ended up occurring during two days in September 2017, following the Carter Page FISA Renewal Application No. 3.

The FBI 's interview with Steele in September 2017 further highlighted discrepancies between Steele 's presentation of information in the election reporting and the views of his Primary Sub-source.
For example, Steele told the interviewing agent and analyst that Reports 80, 95, 97, and 102, which range in date from June 20 to August 10, 2016, included information from a sub-source who was" close'' to Trump. Steele further advised the FBI staff that this sub-source was the same person who originally provided the Primary Sub-source with the information concerning Trump 's alleged sexual activities at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow, and that the Primary Sub-source met with this sub-source two or three times. However, we were told by WFO Agent 1 that the Primary Sub-source stated that he/she never met this sub-source and that other sub-sources were responsible for the Ritz Carlton reporting. The Primary Sub-source also told the FBI interviewers as well as WFO Agent 1 that he/she received a telephone call from an individual he/she believed was this sub-source but was not certain of the person 's identity and that the person never identified him/herself during the call. The FBl 's written summary of the Primary Sub-source 's interview describes this call as follows:

[ The Primary Sub-source] recalls that this 10-15 minute conversation included a general discussion about Trump and the Kremlin, that there was" communication'' between the parties, and that it was an ongoing relationship.
( The Primary Sub-source] recalls that the individual believed to be[ Source E in Report 95] said that there was" exchange of information'' between Trump and the Kremlin, and that there was" nothing bad about it.''[ Source E] said that some of this information exchange could be good for Russia, and some could be damaging to Trump, but deniable. The individual said that the Kremlin might be of help to get Trump elected, but[ the Primary Sub-source] did not recall any discussion or mention of Wiki[ L] eaks.

Report 95, however, attributes to this sub-source information concerning the release of DNC emails to Wikileaks.
Report 95 states:" Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee( DNC), to the Wikileaks platform.'' Report 95 describes the relationship between the Trump campaign and" the Russian leadership'' as a" well-developed conspiracy of cooperation.'' As described in Chapters Five, Seven, and Eight, all four Carter Page FISA applications relied on Report 95 to support probable cause.

Report 97 contains four paragraphs of information with numerous allegations attributed to the sub-source( and hence is purportedly derived from the Primary Sub-source 's 10-15 minute call).
The information attributed to the sub-source includes that( 1) the Kremlin was concerned that" political fallout from the DNC email hacking operation is spiraling out of control,''( 2) the Kremlin had intelligence on Clinton and her campaign but that the sub-source did not know when or if it would be released, and( 3) that derogatory material possessed by the Russians would not be used against Trump" given how helpful and co-operative his team had been over several years, and particularly of late.'' Report 102 likewise contains numerous insights about the Trump campaign and Russian tactics. It includes allegations that the" aim of leaking the DNC e-mails to Wikileaks during the Democratic Convention had been to swing supporters of Bernie Sanders away from Hillary Clinton and across to TRUMP,'' and that Carter Page" conceived and promoted'' this" objective'' and had discussed it directly with the sub-source.

The Supervisory Intel Analyst told the OIG that he found the Primary Subsource 's explanations about his/her contacts with this sub-source" peculiar'' and that the Primary Sub-source could have been minimizing his/her relationship with the sub-source.
The Supervisory Intel Analyst agreed that press reports discussing the sub-source 's alleged contacts with the Trump campaign may have motivated the Primary Sub-source to minimize the extent of his/her relationship with the subsource. We asked the Supervisory Intel Analyst whether he thought the Primary Sub-source had been truthful during his/her interview with the FBI. He said that he believed that there were instances where the Primary Sub-source was" minimizing'' certain facts but did not believe that he/she was" completely fabricating'' events. The Supervisory Intel Analyst stated that he did not know whether he could support a" blanket statement'' that the Primary Sub-source had been truthful.

In Steele 's September 2017 interview with the FBI, Steele also made statements that conflicted with explanations from two of his sub-sources about their access to Russian officials.
For example, Steele explained that the Primary Sub-source had direct access to a particular former senior Russian government official and that they had been" speaking for a while.'' The Primary Sub-source told the FBI, however, that he/she had never met or s oken with the official. Steele also stated that one sub-source was one of a few persons in a" circle'' close to a particular senior official. The FBI obtained information from the sub-source that contradicted Steele 's interpretation.

FBI documents reflect that another of Steele 's sub-sources who reviewed the election reporting told the FBI in August 2017 that whatever information in the Steele reports that was attributable to him/her had been" exaggerated'' and that he/she did not recognize anything as originating specifically from him/her.
The Primary Sub-source told the FBI that he/she believed this sub-source was" one of the key sources for the` Trump dossier''' and the source for allegations concerning Michael Cohen and events in Prague contained in Reports 135, 136, and 166, as well as Report 94 's allegations concerning the alleged meeting between Carter Page and Igor Divyekin. The Supervisory Intel Analyst told us that he believed this Steele sub-source may have been attempting to minimize his/her role in the election reporting following its release to the public.

Steele 's September 2017 interview with the FBI, which was conducted 2 months after the final Carter Page FISA renewal application was submitted to the court, also revealed bias against Trump.
According to the FBI FD-302 of the interview, Steele and his business colleague described Trump as their" main opponent'' and said that they were" fearful'' about the negative impact of the Trump presidency on the relationship between the United States and United Kingdom. The Supervisory Intel Analyst stated that he viewed Steele 's description of Trump as the" main opponent'' as an expression of" clear bias.'' Steele told us that he did not begin his investigation with any bias against Trump, but based on the information he learned during the investigation became very concerned about the consequences of a Trump presidency.

E. Crossfire Hurricane Team 's Assessment of Potential Russian Influence on the Steele Election Reporting

Although an investigation into whether Steele 's election reports, or aspects of them, were the product of a Russian disinformation campaign was not within the scope of this review, or within the scope of the OIG 's oversight role, we examined the extent to which the Crossfire Hurricane team considered this possibility in its assessment of Steele 's reporting.
Priestap told us that he recognized that the Russians are" masters at disinformation'' and that the Crossfire Hurricane team was aware of the potential for Russian disinformation to influence Steele 's reporting. According to Priestap:

[ W] e had a lot of concurrent efforts to try to understand, is[ the reporting] true or not, and if it 's not, you know, why is it not?
Is it the motivation of[ Steele] or one of his sources, meaning[ Steele 's] sources? ...[ Or were they] flipped, they 're actually working for the Russians, and providing disinformation? We considered all of that....

Steele told us that Russian intelligence is" sophisticated'' and relies on disinformation.
He said it can involve" planted information,'' which he described as" controlled information,'' and that often the information is true but with" bits missing and changed.'' For his part, Steele told us that he had no evidence that his reporting was" polluted'' with Russian disinformation.

The Intel Section Chief told the OIG that the FBI 's efforts to identify possible Russian disinformation in the Steele election reporting included trying to corroborate the reporting, learning as much as possible about Steele 's sub-sources, and fully assessing Steele.
According to an FBI memorandum prepared in December 2017 for a Congressional briefing, by the time the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was transferred to the Special Counsel in May 2017, the FBI" did not assess it likely that the[ Steele][ election reporting] was generated in connection to a Russian disinformation campaign.'' Priestap told us that the FBI" did n't have any indication whatsoever'' by May 2017 that the Russians were running a disinformation campaign through the Steele election reporting. Priestap explained, however, that if the Russians, in fact, were attempting to funnel disinformation through Steele to the FBI using Russian Oligarch 1, he did not understand the goal. Priestap told us that what he has

tried to explain to anybody who will listen is if that 's the theory[ that Russian Oligarch 1 ran a disinformation campaign through[ Steele] to the FBI], then I 'm struggling with what the goal was.
So, because, obviously, what[ Steele] reported was not helpful, you could argue, to then[ candidate] Trump. And if you guys recall, nobody thought then candidate Trump was going to win the election. Why the Russians, and[ Russian Oligarch 1] is supposed to be close, very close to the Kremlin, why the Russians would try to denigrate an opponent that the intel community later said they were in favor of who did n't really have a chance at winning, I 'm struggling, with, when you know the Russians, and this I know from my Intelligence Community work: they favored Trump, they 're trying to denigrate Clinton, and they wanted to sow chaos. I do n't know why you 'd run a disinformation campaign to denigrate Trump on the side.

As discussed in Chapter Four, Steele performed work for Russian Oligarch 1 's attorney on Russian Oligarch l 's litigation matters, and, as described later in Chapter Nine, passed information to Department attorney Bruce Ohr advocating on behalf of one of Russian Oligarch 1 's companies regarding U.S. sanctions.
Priestap, the Intel Section Chief, and other members of Crossfire Hurricane told us that they were unaware of Steele 's connections to Russian Oligarch 1, who was the subject of a Crossfire Hurricane case, and that they would have wanted to know about them. Priestap, for example, told us" I do n't recall knowing that there was any connectivity between[ Steele] and[ Russian Oligarch 1].'' Priestap told us that he believed it was" completely fair'' to say that the FBI should have assessed Steele 's relationship with Russian Oligarch 1.

Stuart Evans, NSD 's Deputy Assistant Attorney General who oversaw 01, stated that if 01 had been aware of the information about Steele 's connections to Russian Oligarch 1, it would have been evaluated by 01.
He told us:" Counterintelligence investigations are complex, and often involve as I said, you know, double dealing, and people playing all sides.... I think that[ the connection between Steele and Russian Oligarch 1] would have been yet another thing we would have wanted to dive into.'' V. The FBl 's Efforts to Assess Steele 's Election Reporting in 2016 and 2017

The FBI 's assessment of the Steele election reporting began in midSeptember 2016 and concluded approximately 1 year later, roughly 3 months after the submission of Carter Page FISA Renewal Application No. 3 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court( FISC).
The FBI acquired the vast majority of its information about the Steele election reporting prior to the end of September 2017, when FISA surveillance of Carter Page expired.

To evaluate Steele 's election reporting, intelligence analysts on the Crossfire Hurricane team created a spreadsheet identifying each statement that appeared in the Steele election reports in order to have a record of what the FBI learned during its assessment regarding those statements.
The intelligence analysts also attempted to determine the true identities of the sub-source( s) responsible for each statement in Steele 's election reporting, and made assessments of each subsource 's likely access to the type of information described. FBI CD officials also travelled abroad and met with persons who previously had professional contacts with Steele to gather information about his reliability and the quality of his work.

According to FBI officials, it was challenging to corroborate the information in the Steele election reporting because much of it was" singular source intelligence,'' and thus could not be verified given the manner in which the events took place.
For example, officials told us that a meeting or conversation between just a few people in Russia may only be known to the individuals involved. According to a Supervisory Special Agent who investigated the Steele election reporting, the Crossfire Hurricane team could not independently verify those types of allegations asking to... folks that are high-level in Russia... Strzok told us that, for this kind of information, the" frustration of it was...[ the FBI] could n't necessarily prove it and could n't disprove it either.''

Despite the FBI 's efforts to corroborate and evaluate the Steele election reporting, we were told by the Supervisory Intel Analyst that, as of September 2017, the FBI had corroborated limited information in the Steele election reporting, and much of that information was publicly available.
Most relevant to the Carter Page FISA applications, the specific substantive allegations contained in Reports 80, 94, 95, and 102, which were relied upon in all four FISA applications, remained uncorroborated and, in several instances, were inconsistent with information gathered by the Crossfire Hurricane team. For example, as detailed in Chapters Five and Seven, these allegations included, among other things, that Page had secret meetings with Igor Sechin and Igor Divyekin in July 2016 and served as an" intermediary'' between Manafort and the Russian government. As we describe in Chapters Five and Eight, certain information the FBI had obtained did not support these allegations or the theory in Steele 's election reporting that Page was coordinating, or had coordinated, with Russian government officials on 2016 U.S. election activities. Additionally, the FBI determined that some of the allegations in the Steele reporting, including that Trump attorney Michael Cohen had traveled to Prague in late summer 2016 to meet with Kremlin representatives and that" antiClinton hackers'' had been paid by the''[ Trump] team'' and Kremlin, were not true.

In the next two chapters, we describe the FBI 's use of the Steele election reporting in the three Carter Page FISA renewal applications and the changes that were made, and not made, to the applications to reflect the additional information the FBI developed about Steele and his reporting.
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