Internal FBI Documents Raise Questions About Use Of Unverified Steele Dossier
- Rep. Devin Nunes is accusing the FBI of a “clear violation” of its internal rules and procedures
- The letter is in response to spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page
- The Republican lawmaker cited possible conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and contempt of court
The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is accusing the FBI of a “clear violation” of its internal rules and procedures over its applications for spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In a letter sent Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, California Rep. Devin Nunes wrote that using the unverified Steele dossier violates the bureau’s requirements that only “documented and verified” information may be used in applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.
Nunes also asserted that someone at the bureau may have broken the law by violating the procedures.
The Republican’s letter cited the most recent version of the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide to make the case.
“The accuracy of information contained within FISA applications is of utmost importance,” reads a section in the guide in a section regarding the “verification and accuracy” of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application procedures. (RELATED: FISA Warrant Relied On Dossier And News Story Planted By Fusion GPS)
“Only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications [FISA] to the court [FISC],” reads an unredacted version of the guide, which is dated Oct. 15, 2011.
The FBI relied heavily on the dossier in its four applications for FISA warrants to spy on Page.
Written by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the dossier alleges that Page met secretly in July 2016 in Moscow with two Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. The 35-page document also claims that he was part of President Donald Trump’s campaign’s effort to collude with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. (RELATED: House Republicans Release Rebuttal To Democrats’ Memo)
Page has vehemently denied Steele’s claims, which remain unverified.
Current and former Justice Department and FBI officials have confirmed that unverified information from the dossier “comprised an essential part” of the FISA applications related to Page, according to Nunes’ letter.
The FISA warrants — the first of which was granted on Oct. 21, 2016 — also failed to disclose that the Clinton campaign and DNC were the funders of the dossier. Though the FBI knew that Democrats paid for the document, the FISA application stated only that the bureau “speculates” that the dossier information came from a source who sought to “discredit” Trump’s campaign.
In his letter to Sessions, Nunes is asking whether FBI protocols were changed since the 2011 guide “to allow for the use of unverified information” to support FISA applications.
Nunes also noted that violation of the 2011 protocols by presenting “false and/or unverified information” could constitute criminal conduct.
He cited possible conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and contempt of court. The Republican also flagged possible violations of 18 USC 242 and 50 USC 1809. The former statute makes it illegal to use the “color of law to conduct a targeted investigation based on the pretext of law enforcement.” The latter pertains to “surveillance conducted under color of law in a manner not authorized by FISA.”
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