Real Clear Investigations published a report last week that detailed the FBI’s passing of classified information to UK foreign national Christopher Steele in Rome in October 2016:
A month before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI met Christopher Steele in Rome and apparently unlawfully shared with the foreign opposition researcher some of the bureau’s most closely held secrets, according to unpublicized disclosures in the recent Justice Department Inspector General report on abuses of federal surveillance powers.
What’s more, Steele, the former British spy who compiled the “dossier” of conspiracy theories for the Hillary Clinton campaign, was promised $15,000 to attend the briefing by FBI agents eager to maintain his cooperation in their Trump-Russia collusion investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane. That investigation was so closely guarded that only a handful of top officials and agents at the FBI were allowed to know about it.
The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz details how a team of FBI agents in early October 2016 shared with Steele extensive classified materials, just weeks before the bureau cut off ties with him for leaking his own research to the media. The secrets included foreign intelligence information still considered so sensitive that the IG’s report refers to it even now only as coming from a “Friendly Foreign Government.” In fact, this is a reference to Australia. That country’s ambassador to Britain sent the United States a tip about loose talk by junior Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. The FBI has described that as the predicate for its Trump-Russia investigation.
This is no small matter. “Sharing classified information with anyone not authorized to receive it is a crime,” says Sean Bigley, an attorney specializing in national security law. “But sharing classified information with a non-U.S. citizen not authorized to receive it is also the very definition of harm to national security.”
The idea that the FBI is gratuitously sharing classified information with a foreign informant is rather extraordinary, says lawyer Bigley. “If one of my clients did this, they would be stripped of their security clearance, out of a job, and probably facing indictment.”
In short, the FBI illegally passed classified information to a foreigner and a Clinton campaign operative a month before the 2016 election. One might cynically ask, where are the prosecutions? But I digress. To discuss this revelation, Jason Chaffetz, sitting in for Laura Ingraham on her show Friday night, interviewed Lee Smith, the author of the 2019 book, The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History. Here is some of the Q&A:
Chaffetz: A new report from Real Clear Investigations … unearthed a bombshell buried in deep in the DoJ IG report of FISA abuse released last year. IG Michael Horowitz discovered that FBI officials shared highly classified materials with former British spy Christopher Steele. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the agents knew Steele was doing opposition research against Trump, and we’re told that Hillary Clinton herself know about it. So why in the world would they be taking classified information and sharing that with Steele.
Smith: The main problem that comes out is that they’re sharing classified information with Steele. One of the things that is illuminated in the story is that after Steele gets this information from the FBI team, he goes and meets with Glenn Simpson, a Clinton operative. In effect, Christopher Steele is the liaison between the FBI and the Clinton campaign. So that’s another very significant takeaway from this story.
Chaffetz: It’s in the IG report; it highlights this. We don’t know whether or not Durham is looking at this, but money is flowing – taxpayer money – it’s coming out of taxpayers’ wallets. It’s going to this operative to do opposition research … $15,000 to go attend this meeting. And then Glenn Simpson [Fusion GPS] is involved. He’s part of Team Clinton, and what the DNC research is doing. It gets even worse because that is the information that they use for this FISA warrant.
Smith: That’s the question that needs to be answered here. We need to find out exactly why that information was being provided to Christopher Steele. We’ve known for a long time that Steele and the Clinton campaign was providing information to the FBI. It now appears the FBI was giving information to the Clinton campaign as well. Was that in order to direct the FISA so that they could obtain the spy warrant.
Chaffetz: Listen to McCabe’s own words about what he thinks part of the problem was [in a CNN interview in December]: “The biggest mistake is the process that was in place essentially left so much responsibility on the lowest level of FBI agents and supervisors involved in the process. Once those mistakes are baked in, they become very, very hard for the many, many layers of oversight to uncover.” I’m telling you, I just want to come out of my seat on that one. That is exactly the opposite of what actually happened. Main Justice brought this up at the highest levels; that was the problem. They didn’t give it to some prosecutors who are used to doing this … out of New York or Dallas or some other place … but they brought it in to [keep it] real close to themselves. That was part of the problem.
Smith [sarcastically]: It’s a very manly response from former acting FBI director McCabe to throw his underlings … his subordinates … under the bus. But no, of course, this went up to extremely high levels. We know from the IG report the people who were involved … people who apparently signed off on sharing this information with Steele … included Peter Strzok and Bill Priestap, so this goes up extremely high [in the FBI].
Chaffetz: This goes back to the [non-prosecution of McCabe], but if you think McCabe is out of the woods on this one, I think he’s got another think coming because between Barr and Durham and the things that are going on at DoJ, this is not over yet.
End of the Q&A. The criminality at the FBI just keeps dripping out, little by little — in this case, passing classified information to a foreign national. And McCabe spins the opposite of reality in order to pass the buck to subordinates. It’s clear the FBI is a rogue agency, acting in service of the political class – especially Democrats. That was certainly the case during the Obama regime. The foot-dragging and lack of any real accountability for the actions of FBI personnel involved in these and other Spygate-related crimes are appalling. Where is FBI Director Christopher Wray? Apparently, departmental standards mean nothing to these people, let alone criminal statutes, and defending the agency is more important than holding people accountable for their crimes.
Can we rely on John Durham to get the job done? Because it doesn’t seem like there’s anybody left to do what’s right (and necessary)?