Matt Taibbi, of all people, writing for Rolling Stone, of all things, said the dossier was “always a joke,” and he politely suggested the reporting, the driving force, was a joke too. Taibbi said reporters who put any of it in print should be “embarrassed.”
Taibbi starts his article off:
The Guardian headline reads: “DOJ Internal watchdog report clears FBI of illegal surveillance of Trump adviser.”
If the report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz constitutes a “clearing” of the FBI, never clear me of anything. Holy God, what a clown show the Trump-Russia investigation was.
It’s better if you just read the article yourself, but here are some key points from the article:
“Officials on the “Crossfire Hurricane,” Trump-Russia investigation went to extraordinary, almost comical lengths to seek surveillance authority of figures like Trump aide Carter Page. They “disguised” exculpatory facts such as Carter Page was an FBI informant.
“There are too many to list in one column, but the Horowitz report show years of breathless headlines were wrong.”
The so-called “Steele dossier” was, actually, crucial to the FBI’s decision to seek secret surveillance of Page. Headlines said it was a “small part” of the application, but Horowitz was very clear on that.
Everything important that Devin Nunes wrote in his demeaned “Nunes memo” was true.
The “Steele dossier” was “Internet rumor,” and corroboration for the pee tape story was “zero.”
The Steele report reads like a pile of rumors surrounded by public information pulled off the Internet, and the Horowitz report does nothing to dispel this notion.
Worse than that, Steele’s sources said he “embellished the most explosive parts of his report.” Even the source he said confirmed his reporting never confirmed his reporting.
Meanwhile, the Steele assertions that Russians had a kompromat file on Hillary Clinton, and that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russians, relied on a source Steele himself disparaged as an “egoist” and “boaster” who “may engage in some embellishment.”
The FBI knew all this from the start.
Their notes stated: “[d]emonstrates lack of self-awareness, poor judgment;” “[k]een to help” but “underpinned by poor judgment;” “Judgment: pursuing people with political risk but no intel value;” “[d]idn’t always exercise great judgment- sometimes [he] believes he knows best;” and “[r]eporting in good faith, but not clear what he would have done to validate.”
The Crossfire Hurricane team knew all this but didn’t pass it upstairs or include it in the warrant.
TAIBBI SLAMS THE MEDIA
Taibbi writes, “I’ve written about how reporters used sleight of hand to get the Steele dossier into print without putting it through a vetting process. What Horowitz describes is worse: a story about bad journalism piled on bad journalism, balanced on a third layer of wrong reporting.”
“Steele in his “reports” embellished his sources’ quotes, played up nonexistent angles, invented attributions, and ignored inconsistencies. The FBI then transplanted this bad reporting in the form of a warrant application and an addendum to the Intelligence Assessment that included the Steele material, ignoring a new layer of inconsistencies and red flags its analysts uncovered in the review process.”
“Then, following a series of leaks, the news media essentially reported on the FBI’s wrong reporting of Steele’s wrong reporting.”
“The impact was greater than just securing a warrant to monitor Page. More significant were the years of headlines that grew out of this process, beginning with the leaking of the meeting with Trump about Steele’s blackmail allegations, the insertion of Steele’s conclusions in the Intelligence Assessment about Russian interference, and the leak of news about the approval of the Page FISA warrant.”
As a result, Taibbi continued, a “well-developed conspiracy” theory based on a report that Comey described as “salacious and unverified material that a responsible journalist wouldn’t report without corroborating,” became the driving news story in a superpower nation for two years. Even the New York Times, which published a lot of these stories, is in the wake of the Horowitz report noting Steele’s role in “unleashing a flood of speculation in the news media about the new president’s relationship with Russia.”
HOPEFULLY, THIS MEANS JUSTICE FOR CARTER PAGE
Carter Page looks so relieved. I hope he wins a lot of money in a lawsuit.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) December 11, 2019