Sunday, March 17, 2019

Some Saint Paddy's Morning Russiagate

Not a lot on this St. Patrick's Day morning, but one item is particularly juicy. WaEx: Christopher Steele admitted using posts by 'random individuals' on CNN website to back up Trump dossier
Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the "Trump dossier," which was used as a basis for the FBI's investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN's iReport website and said he wasn't aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

A web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “ is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

"I do not have any particular knowledge of that," Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, "I do not." He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”
To be fair, a random commenter has about as much chance of being correct as CNN. Power Line, What Christopher Steele said
If one may fairly extrapolate from this instance, the FBI’s reliance on the Steele Dossier in its counterintelligence investigation and FISA warrant applications was, shall we say, misplaced. As Jerry Dunleavy elaborates in his Washington Examiner article, there is a lot about iReport that Steele didn’t know and probably shouldn’t have missed. FOX News unmercifully points out: “Even the site’s banner included the slogan Unedited. Unfiltered. News.”

Steele acknowledged that his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that might contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.” When asked whether he warned his cutouts at Fusion GPS (i.e., Glenn Simpson) that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

If Steele’s dossier is what it purports to be, it would be the Clinton presidential campaign that was treating with the friends of Vladimir Putin. What we have here would be something like the Russian collusion that someone or other in the ambit of the Department of Justice is supposed to be investigating.
Steele admits he used posts from ‘random individuals’ on CNN website for Trump dossier. “The FBI was able to obtain several FISA warrants based on the dossier. Was the FISA judge told that some of the information was from an internet crank?”

The people involved in this should go to jail, just for sheer stupidity. And the FISA court is looking more and more pathetic.
More on the Dosser from Redstate, NEW: Fusion GPS Internal Memo Blows Up (Another) Trump Dossier Claim
New details have just come out on yet another Trump dossier claim falling apart and it comes from an unlikely source. A Russian named Aleksej Gubarev sued Fusion GPS for defamation in February of 2017 due to his being named in their dossier as a nefarious Russian hacker targeting the DNC.

The Daily Caller has the details.
Gubarev sued BuzzFeed and Steele in February 2017 over the dossier, claiming the allegations were defamatory. In one memo, Steele alleged Gubarev was “recruited under duress” by Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB, and was a “significant” player in an operation to use botnets and viruses to steal information from Democrats.
As it turns out, this claim was sensational crap, just like the rest of the document’s most salacious accustions. Desperate to keep their credibility, Fusion GPS tapped one of their contractors named Edward Baumgartner to prove that Gubarev was who Christopher Steele said he was. They got a very unexpected, and no doubt unwanted return on their investment.
“Our interviews of people familiar with Gubarev paint a picture of a relatively well-known person in the IT sector with an entirely positive reputation as a successful self-made entrepreneur,” reads the five-page report, which was provided as evidence in a lawsuit that Gubarev filed against BuzzFeed News.
“Our sources were uncertain about Gubarev’s alleged ties to the hacking and collection of compromising material on Trump. Their lack of certainty is entirely understandable given the highly secretive nature of intelligence work, on the one hand, and the technical difficulty of establishing someone’s potential ties to hacking.”
Let me cut through the obfuscating and translate that for you. Fusion GPS tapped one of it’s contractors to try to prove Gubarev was a Russian intelligence asset and in the end they came up completely empty. Though Gubarev’s lawsuit was eventually dismissed (he’s appealing), not on the basis of evidence, but on general 1st amendment grounds, it led directly to exposing Fusion GPS’s failures to corroborate yet another part of their dossier.
S. Noble details how it Turns Out McCain’s Aide Spread the Dossier to Anti-Trump Reporters Useful idiots or Machiavellian schemer. I lean schemer.
The McCain ally claims he never gave permission for the dossier to be copied but left reporters alone in a room to review it. They photographed each page. Kramer further insisted he told them it was unverified and later told BuzzFeed to take the story down or they would get “people killed.”

I've seen that on TV, but in real life? Another review article at Red State, According To More Than Two Dozen Sources, FBI Withheld Exculpatory Evidence On FISA Court Application To Spy On Carter Page

Sundance at CTH, Lindsey Graham Senate Floor Speech on Mueller, FISA Abuse, and DOJ/FBI Investigations… "Chuck Schumer says ‘go spit‘.  Graham stands back up and says: ‘thank you‘ but he shall endeavor to investigate the issues with, or without, Democrat support."

Mueller's busy week offers new signs his report is coming soon "After many false alarms that the special counsel's work is winding down, the clues are mounting that it finally is." Maybe we should just consult the Magic 8 ball.

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