FACT CHECK. Did Chuck Grassley Really Identify Fusion GPS Employees?

Today, the attorneys for Fusion GPS, the smear merchants at the center of the Trump dossier, sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley complaining of ill treatment. Via Reuters:

Washington-based Fusion GPS said the firm had twice reported unspecified “threats” to the police and had tried to keep its employees’ names confidential “because of well-founded concerns about their public safety.”

Fusion hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile the “dossier” that included allegations about contacts between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, his advisers and Russia. The document has since become the focus of attacks by Trump and his supporters.

Fusion’s lawyers complained that the names of Fusion employees were publicly disclosed in six letters issued last week by Grassley and Senator Graham, a judiciary subcommittee chairman, although the company’s lawyers “on multiple occasions” had asked committee staff members to avoid doing so.

“Ignoring our requests, your office knowingly put these people in danger, by releasing their names to the public,” the Fusion lawyers argued. “These leaks are unauthorized and unethical.”

“Some of these employees are not yet 30 years old. Others have children. We also hope that nothing happens to these good people, simply because of your office’s labored efforts to defend this president or please the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal.”

This got a lot of traffic in the media because Fusion GPS has deep links into all the major outlets and it is known, via Fusion GPS’ bank records, that they have a practice of paying journalists to push their stories. The coverage this got can best be viewed as Fusion GPS collecting on the debt owed to them by a lot of major Washington DC journalists.

I covered this particular story last week.

These are the facts. Last week, Grassley, and Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary’s subcommittee on crime and terrorism, sent six letters demanding various documents. These are the addressees.

These letters are pretty standard fare in terms of committee correspondence and they are posted on the committee website. Grassley and Graham ask a series of questions and they conclude with this

As you can see, there is no call-out of “Fusion GPS employees.” In fact, there is no rhyme or reason to the listing of people as far as I can tell. This kind of letter is not unusual for committee chairs or ranking members of either house or either party to send. Can you discover who these people are? Sure. I did.

Fusion GPS–hired by Clinton campaign to develop dossier.
Bean LLC–parent organization of Fusion GPS.
Glenn Simpson–Fusion GPS founder.
Mary Jacoby–Simpson’s wife.
Peter Fritsch–partner in Fusion GPS (took the Fifth before House Intelligence Committee).
Tom Catan–partner in Fusion GPS (took the Fifth before House Intelligence Committee).
Jason Felch–Fusion GPS and possessor of a very unfortunate surname.
Neil King–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
David Michaels–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Taylor Sears–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Patrick Corcoran–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Laura Sego–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Jay Bagwell–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Erica Castro–Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Nellie Ohr–wife of assistant deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr and a Fusion GPS employee/contractor.
Rinat Akhmetshin–former KGB officer, Fusion GPS contractor, present at Trump Tower meeting.
Ed Lieberman–lawyer close to Rinat Akhmetshin.
Edward Baumgartner–runs a Russia-centric opposition research company, collaborated with Fusion GPS.
Orbis Business Intelligence Limited–Hired by Fusion GPS.
Orbis Business International Limited–parent organization of Orbis Business Intelligence.
Walsingham Training Limited–owned by Christopher Steele.
Walsingham Partners Limited–owned by Christopher Steele. Parent organization of Walsingham Training.
Christopher Steele–Dossier author.
Christopher Burrows–Director of Orbis Business Intelligence.
Sir Andrew Wood–former UK ambassador to Moscow, brought dossier to attention of John McCain.
Paul Hauser–partner at Bryan Cave in London and attorney for Oleg Deripaska.
Oleg Deripaska–Russian oligarch with business ties to Paul Manafort.
Cody Shearer–Clinton family fixer and partner of Sidney Blumenthal.
Sidney Blumenthal–Clinton family fixer and dirty tricks guru.
Jon Winer – former State Department official.
Kathleen Kavalec–current Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State.
Victoria Nuland–former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State.
Daniel Jones–former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer for Senator Feinstein, current President of the Penn Quarter Group. Prolific leaker of classified information.
Bruce Ohr–former assistant deputy attorney general.
Peter Strzok–former deputy FBI director for counterintelligence.
Andrew McCabe–deputy FBI director.
James Baker–FBI chief of staff.
Sally Yates–deputy attorney general.
Loretta Lynch–attorney general.
John Brennan–CIA director.

I was able to do this because I had access to Google and all those Fusion GPS employees were found by googling their name plus “Fusion GPS.” In other words, all of them had already been identified in multiple media accounts as being a) employees of Fusion GPS and b) associated with the Trump dossier. So none of this was a violation of confidence, or unethical. It was already available in open source.

So this is simply bullsh**. It is a smokescreen. It is an effort by Fusion GPS to deflect attention from themselves.