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  Horowitz Report Chapter 6 Sections I, II, and III

      I. Steele's Briefing to Mother Jones and the FBl's Closure of Steele as a CHS in November 2016
      II. The FBI Receives Additional Steele Reporting Post-Election
      III. The FBI Disseminates the Steele Reporting to the U.S. Intelligence Community and Seeks to Have It Included in the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment


As detailed in this chapter, shortly after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court( FISC) issued orders under FISA authorizing surveillance of Carter Page by the FBI, the FBI closed Steele as a Confidential Human Source( CHS) because Steele disclosed his relationship with the FBI to a reporter.
Following the FBI 's closure of Steele, which we describe below, several other individuals provided the FBI with reports prepared by Steele, some of which the FBI had not previously received. Among the individuals who provided Steele 's information to the FBI were Department attorney Bruce Ohr, who we discuss below and in more detail in Chapter Nine.

Additionally, following Steele 's closure, the FBI disseminated the Steele election reporting to the U.S. Intelligence Community( USIC) and sought to have it included in the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment( ICA) relating to Russian interference with the U.S. elections, in large part because the FBI believed the information in Steele 's reports to be credible, although the FBI made clear to the USIC that the information in the reports had not been fully corroborated.
The FBI also made attempts in 2016 and 2017 to further assess the reliability of Steele 's reports. Through those efforts, as we discuss in this chapter, the FBI discovered discrepancies between Steele 's reporting and statements sub-sources made to the FBI, which raised doubts about the reliability of some of Steele 's reports. The FBI also assessed the possibility that Russia was funneling disinformation to Steele, and the possibility that disinformation was included in his election reports.

As we describe in this chapter, the FBI concluded, among other things, that although consistent with known efforts by Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections, much of the material in the Steele election reports, including allegations about Donald Trump and members of the Trump campaign relied upon in the Carter Page FISA applications, could not be corroborated; that certain allegations were inaccurate or inconsistent with information gathered by the Crossfire Hurricane team; and that the limited information that was corroborated related to time, location, and title information, much of which was publicly available.

I. Steele 's Briefing to Mother.
Jones and the FBI 's Closure of Steele as a

CHS in November 2016

At the end of October 2016, Steele provided a briefing to a Mother Jones reporter in which Steele disclosed that he had provided the FBI with information showing connections between candidate Trump and his campaign and the Russian government.
On October 31, 2016, three days after then FBI Director James Comey 's public announcement that the FBI was reopening its investigation into then Secretary Clinton 's use of a private email server based on the receipt of new evidence, Mother Jones published an article titled" A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.'' The article described the work of a" well-placed Western intelligence source'' with a background in Russian intelligence who was sharing information with the FBI. The article presented information contained in Report 80, and quoted the officer as stating that, based on his interactions with the FBI,''[ i] t 's quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on.''

Steele 's handling agent, Handling Agent 1, told the OIG that he first learned of the Mother Jones article on November 1 when SSA 1 emailed him a copy.
Handling Agent 1 telephoned Steele that day and asked him if he had spoken with the author of the article. According to Handling Agent l 's records, Steele confirmed that he had spoken with the author. Handling Agent l 's notes state that Steele was" concerned about the behavior of[ the FBI] and was troubled by the actions of[ the FBI] last Friday''( i.e., Comey 's announcement concerning the discovery of additional Clinton emails). The notes also state that Handling Agent 1 advised Steele that he must cease collecting information for the FBI, and it was unlikely that the FBI would continue a relationship with him. Handling Agent 1 told us he had no further contact with Steele after the November 1 telephone call.

Upon learning of Steele 's actions, then Assistant Director E.W." Bill'' Priestap decided that Steele had to be closed immediately.
Senior leaders in the FBl 's International Operations Division concurred with this decision during a meeting on November 3 and advised the FBI 's Legal Attache( Legat) in the European city where, as described in Chapter Four, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team met with Steele in early October, that the decision to close Steele was" non-negotiable.'' Handling Agent 1 finalized the necessary paperwork on November 17, 2016, which stated that Steele was closed on November 1 and was being closed for cause due to his disclosure of his confidential relationship with the FBI to a third party. Strzok told the OIG that the FBI closed Steele" because he was a control problem. We did not close him because we thought he was[ a] fabricator.'' According to Strzok, Steele 's decisions to discuss his reporting with the media and to disclose his relationship with the FBI were" horrible and it hurt what we were doing, and no question, he should n't have done it.''

As a consequence of his closing, Handling Agent 1 halted payment of$ 15,000 to Steele.
Handling Agent 1 told the OIG that the FBI never paid Steele for information related to the 2016 U.S. elections. FBI records show that Steele 's last payment occurred on August 12, 2016, and was for information furnished to the FBl 's Cyber and Counterintelligence Divisions( CD) that was unrelated to the 2016 U.S. elections.

Steele told us that by the time of the Mother Jones interview, he and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS had decided not to continue with the FBI because the FBI" was being deceitful.''
In particular, Steele stated that he had asked Ohr and possibly Handling Agent 1 prior to late October 2016 why the U.S. government had not announced that the FBI was investigating allegations concerning the Trump campaign. Steele said that he was told in response that the Hatch Act made it a criminal offense for a federal official to make a public statement within 90 days of an election to the detriment or benefit of a candidate. Both Ohr and Handling Agent 1 told us that they had no recollection of discussing the Hatch Act with Steele. Steele explained that he became frustrated with the FBI at the end of October when Comey notified Congress close to the election that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation and The New York Times quoted law enforcement officials as saying that they had found no direct link between Trump and the Russian government. Steele said that he, his firm, and his clients believed it was not appropriate for the FBI to make announcements in violation of the Hatch Act while at the same time not disclosing its investigative activity concerning the Trump campaign. According to Steele, the FBI 's conduct compelled him to choose between his client and the FBI, and he chose his client because he believed that the FBI had misled him. Steele said that Simpson arranged for the video conference interview with Mother Jones and Simpson actively participated in the call along with Steele. Steele told us that he believed the interview was" off the record'' and under the same rules as his other interviews arranged by Simpson. He does not know whether Simpson either before or after the interview may have changed the rules.

According to FBI officials, knowledge of Steele 's disclosure to Mother Jones did not cause the team to reassess whether Steele was also the source of the disclosures to Yahoo News in September 2016.
As described in Chapter Seven, the language in the Carter Page FISA Renewal Application No. 1 regarding the September 23 Yahoo News article remained unchanged, again stating that the FBI" does not believe that Source# 1[ Steele] directly provided this information to[ Yahoo News].'' The National Security Division 's( NSD) Office of Intelligence( 01) Unit Chief 's notes from a November 29 meeting with the 01 Attorney drafting the Carter Page FISA renewal application and the FBI Office of the General Counsel( OGC) Attorney stated''[ Steele] was not the leaker to Yahoo'' and noted" DD[ Deputy Director] has signed off on requesting the FISA renewal.'' The 01 Unit Chief told us that the OGC Attorney made this statement, but that the OGC Attorney did not provide a basis for the assertion regarding the Yahoo News article. During his OIG interview, we asked the OGC Attorney if he knew the reason for the FBl 's belief that Steele was not the leaker to Yahoo News and he said he was under the impression that Simpson was sharing the information with other entities. SSA 1 and Case Agent 1 told us they did not recall any discussions about changing the FBI 's assessment in the FISA application concerning the Yahoo News disclosure after learning Steele was responsible for the disclosure to Mother Jones. On December 19, 2016, Case Agent 1 interviewed then FBI General Counsel James Baker regarding his interactions with a Mother Jones reporter and Baker told Case Agent 1 that the reporter advised Baker that a former intelligence official" was passing information` around town''' about Trump. Case Agent 1 said that by this time, the team had also heard rumors that Steele 's reporting had been" floated around,'' so it was not clear to them who made the Yahoo News disclosure. Further, we were told that, after the FBI closed Steele as a CHS, the team was notgoing to have further communications with Steele.

The FBI Receives Additional Steele Reporting Post-Election

Following the November 2016 U.S. elections, several third parties provided the FBI with additional Steele election reporting, which the FBI included in its validation efforts.
Baker told the OIG that a Mother Jones reporter contacted him and furnished him with nine reports from Steele, four of which Steele had not previously provided to the FBI. As described above, Baker was interviewed by Case Agent 1 and Baker 's discussion with the Mother Jones reporter was documented in an FBI FD-302 report. According to the FD-302, Baker received a collection of Steele 's reports from the Mother Jones reporter, which Baker forwarded to Priestap for analysis.

Several weeks later, on December 9, 2016, Senator John McCain provided Comey with a collection of 16 Steele election reports, 5 of which Steele had not given the FBI.
McCain had obtained these reports from a staff member at the McCain Institute. The McCain Institute staff member had met with Steele and later acquired the reports from Simpson. Steele told the OIG that a former European Ambassador to Russia who generally was familiar with Steele 's election reporting informed Steele that the former Ambassador would be meeting with Senator McCain at a conference in Nova Scotia in November, and asked Steele whether he wanted the former Ambassador to talk with McCain about the election reporting. Steele said he replied that he did, which resulted in the McCain Institute staff member visiting Steele in Europe in late November. According to deposition testimony the McCain Institute staff member provided in foreign litigation, during this visit Steele discussed his reporting with the staff member and showed the staff member a piece of paper on which Steele had written the true names of his subsources, although the staff member could not recall them. Steele told us that he shared some of the sub-source names with the staff member because the staff member was a" Russia expert'' and had been tasked by Senator McCain to determine whether Steele 's reporting was serious. The staff member also testified that Steele explained to him that the information in the reports needed to be corroborated and verified and that Steele was not in a position" to vouch for everything that was produced...''

Additionally, as we detail in Chapter Nine, on December 10, Department attorney Bruce Ohr received a thumb drive from Simpson containing some of Steele 's election reports and provided the thumb drive to the FBI.
Included among the reports on the thumb drive was a document that the Crossfire Hurricane team had not previously seen, which recounted that a senior official in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had reported that a rumor was circulating that Presidentelect Trump 's delay in appointing a new Secretary of State was the result of an" intervention'' by Putin and the Kremlin, and that they had requested Trump appoint a" Russia-friendly'' figure who was prepared to lift sanctions against Russia.

Finally, by early January 2017, BuzzFeed had obtained copies of some of the Steele election reports during a meeting with the McCain Institute staff member and published them as part of an article titled" These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties to Russia.''
Included in this collection was Report 166, another report that previously had not been shared with the FBI. It included allegations that Trump attorney Michael Cohen had held secret discussions in Prague in late summer 2016 with representatives of the Kremlin and" associated operators/hackers,'' and that the" anti-Clinton hackers'' had been paid by the''[ Trump] team'' and Kremlin. The FBI eventually concluded that these allegations against Cohen and the" Trump team'' were not true.

The FBI Disseminates the Steele Reporting to the U.S. Intelligence Community and Seeks to Have It Included in the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment

According to the Supervisory Intelligence Analyst( Supervisory Intel Analyst), the FBI first shared Steele 's reporting with other U.S. government intelligence agencies in December 2016, when the FBI provided it to an interagency ICA drafting team that was set up in response to a request from President Obama to complete a comprehensive assessment of the Russian government 's intentions and actions concerning the 2016 elections.
Members of the interagency ICA drafting team from the FBI, National Security Agency( NSA), and Central Intelligence Agency( CIA), with oversight from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence( ODNI), worked jointly to prepare a report known as the Intelligence Community Assessment-LCB- ICA). As part of these efforts, both Priestap and the FBI 's Section Chief of CD 's Analysis Section 1( Intel Section Chief) wrote to the CIA in separate correspondence and described Steele as" reliable.''

Whether and how to present Steele 's reporting in the ICA was a topic of significant discussion within the FBI and with the other agencies participating in drafting the ICA.
On December 16, 2016, the Intel Section Chief explained in an email to the FBI:

DD[ Deputy Director] wants the[ Steele] reporting included in the submission with some level of detail, to include the newest stuff that[ Supervisory Intel Analyst] can send you on the red side.
Include details like the potential compromising material, etc.. Can you please add a section( characterizing[ Steele] obviously) in coordination with[ Supervisory Intel Analyst]?

The Intel Section Chief told us that he asked then Deputy Director Andrew McCabe whether McCabe wanted to limit the FBI 's submission to information concerning Russian election interference or to also include allegations against candidate Trump.
The Intel Section Chief said that McCabe understood President Obama 's request for the ICA to require the participating agencies to share all information relevant to Russia and the 2016 elections, and the Steele election reporting qualified at a minimum due to concerns over possible Russian attempts to blackmail Trump. That same day, the Intel Section Chief sent to Priestap, Strzok, and another senior official in CD an updated draft of the FBI 's submission for the ICA with the following explanation:" Attached is the updated draft of[ the] FBl 's submission to the POTUS-tasked election targeting study. It now incorporates the[ Steele] reporting at the DD 's[ Deputy Director 's] request. This has obviously increased the sensitivity of the attached document.'' The Intel Section Chief said that the heightened sensitivity resulted from the reporting 's allegations of collusion:" The minute we put the[ Steele election reporting] in there, it goes from what you 'd expect the FBI to be collecting in a counterintelligence context to direct allegations about collusion with the Trump campaign.''

The following day, December 17, Comey completed his review of the FBI 's draft submission for the ICA and emailed Priestap, McCabe, Strzok, the Intel Section Chief, the FBI Director 's Chief of Staff, and Baker describing a call he had with then Director of National Intelligence( DNI) James Clapper:

Looks okay to me. FYI: During a secure call last night on this general topic, I informed the DNI that we would be contributing the[ Steele] reporting( although I did n't use that name) to the IC[ Intelligence Community] effort. I stressed that we were proceeding cautiously to understand and attempt to verify the reporting as best we can, but we thought it important to bring it forward to the IC effort. I told him the source of the material, which included salacious material about the President-Elect, was a former[] who appears to be a credible person with a source and sub-source network in position to report on such things, but we could not vouch for the material.( I said nothing further about the source or our efforts to verify).

I added that I believed that the material, in some form or fashion, had been widely circulated in Washington and that Senator McCain had delivered to me a copy of the reports and Senator Burr had mentioned to me the part about Russian knowledge of sexual activity by the President-Elect while in Russia.
The DNI asked whether anyone in the White House was aware of this and I said" not to my knowledge.'' He thanked me for letting him know and we did n't discuss further.

According to the Intel Section Chief and Supervisory Intel Analyst, as the interagency editing process for the ICA progressed, the CIA expressed concern about using the Steele election reporting in the text of the ICA.
The Supervisory Intel Analyst explained that the CIA believed that the Steele election reporting was not completely vetted and did not merit inclusion in the body of the report. The Intel Section Chief stated that the CIA viewed it as" internet rumor.''

On December 28, 2016, McCabe wrote to the then ODNI Principal Deputy Director objecting to the CIA 's proposal to present the Steele information in an appendix to the ICA.
McCabe wrote:

I would also like to speak with you tomorrow about my concerns about where the[ Steele] references will appear in the joint report, notwithstanding the fact that it is officially part of the assessment.
We oppose CIA 's current plan to include it as an appendix; there are a number of reasons why I feel strongly that it needs to appear in some fashion in the main body of the reporting, and I would welcome the chance to talk to you about it tomorrow.

McCabe told the OIG that he had three reasons for believing that the Steele election reporting needed to be included in the ICA:( 1) President Obama had requested" everything you have relevant to this topic of Russian influence'';( 2) the Steele election reporting was not completely vetted, but was consistent with information from other sources and came from a source with" a good track record'' that the FBI had" confidence in''; and( 3) McCabe believed the FBI, as an institution, needed to advise the President about the Steele election reporting because it had been widely circulated throughout government and media circles, and was likely to leak into the public realm.
McCabe said he felt strongly that the Steele election reporting belonged in the body of the ICA, because he feared that placing it in an appendix was" tacking it on'' in a way that would" minimiz[ e]'' the information and prevent it from being properly considered.

McCabe 's view did not prevail.
The final ICA report was completed early in the first week of January 2017, and included a short summary and assessment of the Steele election reporting, which was incorporated in an appendix. In the appendix, the intelligence agencies explained that there was" only limited corroboration of the source 's reporting'' and that Steele 's election reports were not used" to reach analytic conclusions of the CIA/FBI/NSA assessment.'' The Intel Section Chief told us that the reference to" limited corroboration'' was addressed to the" whole body'' of Steele 's reporting and not just those portions concerning Trump. He said that there was corroboration of certain facts as well as" the thrust'' of the reporting regarding Russia 's actions to disrupt the election and cause discord in the western alliance.

We asked Comey whether he recalled having any conversations with then CIA Director John Brennan or other members of the USIC about how the Steele election reports should be presented to the President.
Comey stated: I remember being part of a conversation, maybe more than one conversation, where the topic was how the[ Steele] reporting would be integrated, if at all, into the IC assessment. And I do n't remember participating in debates about that. I think I was just told, in, I think, in a meeting with Clapper and Brennan and Rogers[ then NSA Director], that the IC analysts found it credible on its face and gravamen of it, and consistent with our other information, but not in a position where they would integrate it into the IC assessment. But they thought it was important enough and consistent enough that it ought to be part of the package in some way, and so they had come up with this idea to make an[ appendix]. I remember, I do n't think I was part of a debate about that, as I said, but I remember a conversation where I was told that 's how it would be handled and my reaction was, okay, that 's reasonable.

According to Comey, the inclusion of the Steele election reporting as an appendix to the ICA was not a value judgment about the quality of the information.
Instead, it reflected the relatively uncorroborated and incomplete status of the FBI 's assessment. Comey told the OIG that the Steele election reporting was" not ripe enough, mature enough, to be in a finished intelligence product.''

On January 5, 2017, Clapper, then NSA Director Michael Rogers, Brennan, and Comey briefed the ICA report to President Obama and his national security team, followed by a briefing for Congressional leadership on the morning of January 6, 2017, and finally a briefing for then President-elect Trump and his national security team on the afternoon of January 6, 2017.
Comey told the OIG that the plan for the ICA briefing of President-elect Trump had two parts. The first part of the briefing, jointly conducted by Clapper, Brennan, Rogers, and Comey, involved advising Trump and his national security team of the overall conclusions of the ICA. The second part of the briefing involved notifying the President-elect of information from Steele 's reporting that concerned Trump 's alleged sexual activities in Moscow several years earlier. Comey stated that the other USIC Directors agreed that Trump had to be briefed on this information, and Clapper decided the briefing should be done by Comey in a small group or alone with the President-elect.

According to an email Comey sent to FBI officials on January 7, 2017, Comey mentioned during the initial portion of the briefing a piece of Steele 's reporting that indicated Russia had files of derogatory information on both Clinton and the President-elect.
Comey 's email stated that a member of Trump 's national security team asked during the briefing whether the FBI was" trying to dig into the subsources'' to gain a better understanding of the situation, and Comey responded in the affirmative.

Comey 's email reflects that, after the first portion of the meeting ended, Comey stayed behind to speak with President-elect Trump alone about the part of the Steele election reporting that dealt with Trump 's alleged sexual activity.
Comey 's email reflects that he explained that according to Steele 's sub-sources, the Russians had a file on the President-elect 's alleged sexual activities while in Russia and possessed tapes of him with prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow. The email further states that Comey explained that the material was" inflammatory stuff'' and that a news organization" would get killed for reporting straight up from the source reports.'' In testimony before Congress, Comey has described this part of his email as communicating that" it was salacious and unverified material that a responsible journalist would n't report without corroborating in some way.'' Comey told the OIG that he informed President-elect Trump that the FBI did not know whether the allegations were true or false and that the FBI was not investigating them.

After BuzzFeed published the Steele election reports on January 10, 2017, and news reports began describing the January 6 ICA briefing of President-elect Trump, Clapper informed Comey by email on January 11 that he had a telephone conversation with President-elect Trump that included discussion of the Steele''[ election reporting].''
Clapper included in the email to Comey a draft media statement by Clapper for public release, which stated that''[ t] he IC[ Intelligence Community] has not made any judgment that the information in[ the Steele election reporting] is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions'' in the ICA. Comey responded to the email with proposed revisions to Clapper 's text:

I just had a chance to review the proposed talking points on this for today.
Perhaps it is a nit, but I worry that it may not be best to say" The IC has not made any judgment that the information in the document is reliable.'' I say that because we HAVE concluded that the source[ Steele] is reliable and has a track record with us of reporting reliable information; we have some visibility into his source network, some of which we have determined to be sub-sources in a position to report on such things; and much of what he reports in the current document is consistent with and corroborative of other reporting included in the body of the main IC report. That said, we are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting to include in the body of the[ ICA] report.

That all rings in my ears as more complicated than" we have not made a judgment that the information in the document is reliable.''
It might be better to say that" we have not be[ sic] able to sufficiently corroborate the information to include it in the body of our Russia report but, for a variety of reasons, we thought it important to include it in our report to our senior-most audience.

The ODNI released Clapper 's media statement on January 11, 2017, which was captioned" DNI Clapper Statement on Conversation with President-elect Trump.
" The sentence that Comey had raised concerns about in his email to Clapper remained unchanged and thus Clapper 's statement included the following sentence regarding Steele 's election reporting:" The IC has not made any judgment that the information in[ the Steele election reporting] is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions'' in the ICA.
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