“When Steele took his suspicions about Trump to the FBI in the summer of 2016, it was keeping with Orbis (Christopher Steele’s company) protocol, rather than a politically driven aberration.”
Really? Well, that’s what it says in a lengthy article in NEW YORKER magazine about the British ex-spy who found himself in the middle of a highly partisan investigation of Russian “meddling” in our election. Never mind that we know Steele was quite politically motivated in his work on the dossier; he really didn’t like Trump and wanted him to lose. (The article does mention he felt wretched” about Brexit, so there’s a hint of his leanings.) We haven’t heard much about Steele before now, but naturally we assumed that as a former spy, he wouldn’t be very forthcoming. That assumption would be correct –- there’s much we still don’t know –- but this piece goes into some detail.
Many of us who have followed the trail leading from Hillary Clinton and the DNC to the law firm of Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS and, finally, to Christopher Steele (and to the FBI and back again) would dispute the article’s claim that Steele wasn’t intentionally involved in American politics. The article is typical of stories in left-leaning publications in that it conveniently slants or leaves out information that gets in the way of the preferred narrative. You’ll be frustrated to no end by numerous examples this if you manage to slog through the entire piece. Here’s just one: “Trump’s defenders have accused the Bureau of relying on politically motivated smears to spy on Trump’s campaign (Page), but by then Page was not an advisor to Trump...” Where’s a mention that the warrant for spying includes past communications, too, which would have taken the FBI right into the campaign?
The piece begins as Steele finds out that his name has been turned over to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation. He can’t believe that some people in America are calling him a criminal! (In presenting him as a man of high integrity, a real straight arrow, it reminds me of the way James Comey has been described.) According to Steele, he was contacted by Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS in the spring of 2016 and asked to help “follow some difficult leads on Trump’s ties to Russia.” Steele’s London-based company, Orbis, was apparently the go-to company for investigations having to do with Russia. Steele claims that Simpson named the law firm but not the client (as if anybody couldn’t guess), and that he found out Hillary was the client “several months” later.
The article points out something we know: that Fusion GPS was originally contracted by a Republican who disliked Trump but that Fusion convinced Marc Elias, general counsel for the Clinton campaign, to continue where the work had left off. “This bipartisan funding history belies the argument that the research was corrupted by its sponsorship,” it then states. Beg to differ. Steele was not involved in creating a dossier until the Hillary campaign started ponying up. Indeed, we have quite a bit of evidence that the research was absolutely corrupted by its sponsorship, such as the contributions of Clinton cronies Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, for starters, as well as the participation of FBI official Bruce Ohr’s wife, who (the article mentions dismissively) was paid by Fusion GPS.
In describing how the gathering and reporting of intelligence works, the article casts enormous doubt (probably unintentionally) on the accuracy of the information in the dossier. Alexander Vershbow, a U.S. ambassador to Russia under George W. Bush, says, “In intelligence, you evaluate your sources as best you can, but it’s not like journalism, where you try to get more than one source to confirm something. In the intelligence business, you don’t pretend you’re a hundred percent accurate. If you’re seventy or eighty percent accurate, that makes you one of the best.”
If raw intelligence gathering for something like this can be counted on LESS THAN JOURNALISM to be truthful and verifiable, then what does that say about it? How can it possibly be taken seriously or used for anything other than political smears? Yet Steele felt “professionally obligated” to go to the FBI with it, and, later, through Democratic lawyer friend Jonathan Winer, the State Department, and finally to the media. The article goes on interminably about everyone’s concern about Russia, but NONE of this information was verified. This whole project was politically contaminated from the start.
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