The most common excuse for the FBI’s ridiculous handling of the of the Steele Dossier, put together by foreign spy Christopher Steele and paid for by Hillary Clinton, is to proclaim that it was just “raw intelligence!” We’ve seen that idea propagated on every cable network, in ever mainstream publication, and by countless Democrat politicians.
The Daily Caller hit on the issue today.
“It’s raw intelligence,” according to countless politicos and pundits, including CNN contributor Asha Rangappa, Democratic Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, former CIA executive John Sipher and numerous other commentators.
The spy term, which describes information directly from a source that has not been fully analyzed, is intended to downplay the dossier’s significance to the collusion narrative. Christopher Steele, the dossier author, gathered his intelligence from a trusted network of sources, the argument goes, and provided it to seasoned investigators to analyze.
The problem is that the FBI clearly didn’t treat it as such.
The problem with the “raw intelligence” canard is that it ignores questions about how Steele obtained his information and what the former spy did with it once he received it. The FBI also treated Steele’s allegations as more than mere raw intelligence. The bureau relied heavily on Steele’s work, even though it was unverified, to obtain spy warrants against Carter Page.
Steele and his client, Fusion GPS, processed, packaged and disseminated information from the dossier to the FBI, Justice Department, State Department, Capitol Hill, the Clinton campaign and the media.
“Raw intelligence” is not typically something you spew out to the media to influence an election, but the FBI was seemingly fine with it. Steele admitted before the Carter Page Warrant was officially sought that his dossier was politically motivated and that he needed to get the information out before the election. We also know the FBI knew Steele was lying to them about his contacts with the media. A criminal referral is now languishing at the DOJ, hopefully to be resurrected by the new Attorney General.
The bigger issue though is that the FBI chose to treat “raw intelligence” as reliable, verified information, specifically in the Carter Page FISA warrant. In reality, they were likely getting suckered by the Russians, who had ever reason to feed misinformation to Steele.
The irony of the dossier is that it contained allegations about Russia’s hacking and publication of Democrats’ emails, which Fusion GPS and Steele were hired in part to investigate. But Steele himself could have been the victim of Russian manipulation.
A former CIA station chief, Daniel Hoffman, has argued that if Russian hackers gained access to Democrats’ computer systems, they may have discovered that Steele was collecting information on Trump. Hoffman also noted that Steele was likely on the Kremlin’s radar, given his career working for MI6 in Moscow.
That would explain why nearly everything in the dossier turned out to be total garbage. Mueller’s report ended up debunking several of the most salacious claims, including the general claim that Trump was working with the Russians.
Raw intelligence is fine when used in the proper way. It’s necessary to be able to bring in information and digest it. That’s how you go from raw intelligence to something more processed and vetted. Instead, the FBI took clearly faulty, completely unverified material and used it to push a partisan conspiracy forward, all the while they sat idly by as Steele leaked aspects of it to the media.
In doing so, they ended up spreading Russian fed trash all about the election and post election landscape. Saying “but muh raw intelligence” is not an excuse. It only makes the FBI look incompetent, or worse, politically biased. If the FBI can’t do things properly and via objective standards, their powers should be curtailed greatly. Perhaps that should happen anyway given the runaway corruption we’ve continually seen at these bureaucracies.
The next time some know nothing former FBI “analyst” at CNN (who was only at the FBI long enough to be allowed to get coffee for superios) tries to gaslight the country by declaring it’s normal to use raw intelligence in a FISA warrant, they should be laughed off the set. It’s complete nonsense.