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The Comey FBI’s 17 worst failures, inaccuracies and omissions flagged in the Russia FISA report

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz
identified 17 serious omissions, inaccuracies and failures involving the FBI’s
conduct in the Russia collusion investigation and its pursuit of a Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant targeting the Trump campaign.

The significant failings are laid bare in a report made public Monday that showed the FBI withheld from the FISA court misgivings about its star informant Christopher Steele, as well as evidence of innocence against targets like former Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Here is the list of the 17 flagged failures in the FBI’s
handling of FISA warrants in 2016 and 2017, as described in Horowitz’s own
words.

1. Omitted information the FBI had obtained from another
U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including
that Page had been approved as an “operational contact” for the other
agency from 2008 to 2013, and that Page had provided information to the other
agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence
officers, one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application;

2. Included a source characterization statement asserting
that Steele’s prior reporting had been “corroborated and used in criminal
proceedings,” which overstated the significance of Steele’s past reporting
and was not approved by Steele’s handling agent, as required by the Woods
Procedures;

3. Omitted information relevant to the reliability of Person
1, a key Steele sub-source (who was attributed with providing the information
in Report 95 and some of the information in Reports 80 and 102 relied upon in
the application), namely that (1) Steele himself told members of the Crossfire
Hurricane team that Person 1 was a “boaster” and an
“egoist” and “may engage in some embellishment” and (2) INFORMATION
REDACTED

4. Asserted that the FBI had assessed that Steele did not
directly provide to the press information in the September 23 Yahoo News
article based on the premise that Steele had told the FBI that he only shared
his election-related research with the FBI and Fusion GPS, his client; this
premise was incorrect and contradicted by documentation in the Woods File-
Steele had told the FBI that he also gave his information to the State
Department;

5. Omitted Papadopoulos’s consensually monitored statements
to an FBI CHS in September 2016 denying that anyone associated with the Trump
campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like Wikileaks in
the release of emails;

6. Omitted Page’s consensually monitored statements to an
FBI CHS in August 2016 that Page had “literally never met” or
“said one word to” Paul Manafort and that Manafort had not responded
to any of Page’s emails; if true, those statements were in tension with claims
in Report 95 that Page was participating in a conspiracy with Russia by acting
as an intermediary for Manafort on behalf of the Trump campaign; and

7. Included Page’s consensually monitored statements to an
FBI CHS in October 2016 that the FBI believed supported its theory that Page
was an agent of Russia but omitted other statements Page made that were
inconsistent with its theory, including denying having met with Sechin and
Divyekin, or even knowing who Divyekin was; if true, those statements
contradicted the claims in Report 94 that Page had met
secretly with Sechin and Divyekin about future cooperation with Russia and
shared derogatory information about candidate Clinton.

8. Omitted the fact that Steele’s Primary Sub-source, who
the FBI found credible, had made statements in January 2017 raising significant
questions about the reliability of allegations included in the FISA
applications, including, for example, that he/she had no discussion with Person
1 concerning WikiLeaks and there was “nothing bad” about the
communications between the Kremlin and the Trump team, and that he/she did not
report to Steele in July 2016 that Page had met with Sechin;

9. Omitted Page’s prior relationship with another U.S.
government agency, despite being reminded by the other agency in June 2017,
prior to the filing of the final renewal application, about Page’s past status
with that other agency; instead of including this information in the final
renewal application, the OGC Attorney altered an email from the other agency so
that the email stated that Page was “not a source” for the other
agency, which the FBI affiant relied upon in signing the final renewal
application;

10. Omitted information from persons who previously had
professional contacts with Steele or had direct knowledge of his work-related
performance, including statements that Steele had no history of reporting in
bad faith but “[d]emonstrates lack of self-awareness, poor judgment,”
“pursued people with political risk but no intelligence value,”
“didn’t always exercise great judgment,” and it was “not clear
what he would have done to validate” his reporting;

11. Omitted information obtained from Ohr about Steele and
his election reporting, including that (1) Steele’s reporting was going to
Clinton’s presidential campaign and others, (2) Simpson was paying Steele to
discuss his reporting with the media, and (3) Steele was “desperate that
Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S.
President”;

12. Failed to update the description of Steele after
information became known to the Crossfire Hurricane team, from Ohr and others, that provided greater clarity on the political origins and connections of Steele’s reporting, including that Simpson was hired by someone associated with the Democratic Party and/or the DNC;

13. Failed to correct the assertion in the first FISA
application that the FBI did not believe that Steele directly provided
information to the reporter who wrote the September 23 Yahoo News article, even
though there was no information in the Woods File to support this claim and
even after certain Crossfire Hurricane officials learned in 2017, before the
third renewal application, of an admission that Steele made in a court filing
about his interactions with the news media in the late summer and early fall of
2016;

14. Omitted the finding from a FBI source validation report
that Steele was suitable for continued operation but that his past
contributions to the FBI’s criminal program had been ” minimally
corroborated,” and instead continued to assert in the source
characterization statement that Steele’s prior reporting had been
“corroborated and used in criminal proceedings”;

15. Omitted Papadopoulos’s statements to an FBI CHS in late
October 2016 denying that the Trump campaign was involved in the circumstances
of the DNC email hack;

16. Omitted Joseph Mifsud’s denials to the FBI that he
supplied Papadopoulos with the information Papadopoulos shared with the FFG
(suggesting that the campaign received an offer or suggestion of assistance
from Russia); and

17. Omitted information indicating that Page played no role
in the Republican platform change on Russia’s annexation of Ukraine as alleged
in the Report 95, which was inconsistent with a factual assertion relied upon
to support probable cause in all four FISA applications.