7 Deceptions Inside Democrats’ Rebuttal of GOP FISA Memo


by Aaron Klein, Breitbart:

NEW YORK — Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday released a purported rebuttal to a four-page House Republican memo from earlier this month that alleges abuse of surveillance authority on the part of Obama-era federal agencies.

The Democratic rebuttal contains misleading claims, omits key details, and, perhaps unintentionally, actually proves the FBI and Department of Justice utilized the infamous, largely discredited 35-page anti-Trump dossier to obtain a FISA court warrant to monitor an individual formerly associated with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Here are seven key problems with the claims made inside the Democrats’ rebuttal memo.

1 – The House Democratic rebuttal opens with a seemingly deceptive statement that Steele’s dossier “did not inform” the FBI’s decision to start its investigation into Trump’s campaign in late July.

This is the first contention in the rebuttal, which relates it is trying to “correct the record.” However, the Republican memo did not assert that the dossier informed the FBI’s decision to launch its investigation in late July or anytime. Instead, the GOP memo documented that Steele’s dossier formed an “essential part” of the FISA court applications submitted by Obama-era federal agencies to monitor the communications of Carter Page, who briefly served as a volunteer foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, even though House Democrats seem to be rebutting a contention that was not made in the Republican memo, there are possible issues with the rebuttal’s claim that the FBI’s investigative team only received Steele’s “reporting” in mid-September, ostensibly referring to the written dossier.  The Democrats entirely ignore that last July, Steele reportedly traveled to Rome, where he met with an FBI contact to supply the agency with alleged information he found during the course of his anti-Trump work.  The Washington Post reported that Steele met with the FBI on July 5, 2016.  The Democratic memo reveals that the DOJ “accurately informed the court that that the FBI initiated its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016.”  That is 26 days after Steele met with the FBI in Rome.

2 – While perhaps not intending to, the Democratic memo actually confirms that the Obama Justice Department did use Steele’s largely discredited dossier for FISA court applications to monitor Page.

The memo contains a sentence stating that “as DOJ informed the court in subsequent renewals”; but the rest of that sentence is redacted. The next sentence states that “Steele’s reporting about Page’s Moscow meeting,” with the remainder of that sentence also redacted. The next sentence states that “DOJ’s applications did not otherwise rely on Steele’s reporting, including any ‘salacious’ allegations about Trump…” The word “otherwise” indicates that, according to the Democratic memo, DOJ did indeed rely on Steele’s dossier for something.

As a side note, interestingly, the Democrats only use the term “salacious” regarding the dossier, not fully quoting from former FBI Director James Comey’s famous remarks in which he testified that the anti-Trump dossier contained “salacious and unverified” material.

Meanwhile, the Democratic rebuttal goes on to cite specific instances of the FISA applications utilizing Steele’s dossier, with the applications citing Steele’s alleged sources reporting that Page took meetings in Russia.

In a clear attempt to minimize the importance of the dossier, the Democratic memo refers to a 2013 case in which Russian agents allegedly targeted Page for recruitment. In that case, Page was identified in court documents made public as “Male-1” in reference to a case involving three Russian men identified as Russian intelligence agents. The spy ring was accused of seeking information on U.S. sanctions as well as methods of developing alternate sources of energy. The FBI court filings describe “the attempted use of Male-1 as an intelligence source for Russia,” but Page was not accused of having been successfully recruited or spying. The court documents cite no evidence that “Male-1” knew he was talking with alleged Russian agents. That the Obama-era federal agencies needed to still use the dossier in light of that 2013 case may show that the 2013 episode was not enough to obtain a FISA warrant on Page. Steele’s dossier contains claims of updated meetings between Page and Russians that went into the year 2016.

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