Friday February 19, 2021
On Jan. 12, 2017, former FBI Director James Comey attested to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the now-discredited information from former British spy Christopher Steele regarding Russian collusion had been "verified". Thanks to an FOIA request, we now have documentary evidence showing Comey pressing ahead to validate Steele amid a distinct lack of enthusiasm on the part of other agency heads. Clearly, the latter were reluctant to push Steele’s salacious storytelling, lest they throw additional doubt on their own threadbare tales of Trump’s collusion with Russia.
Comey wanted to use Steele’s reporting to buttress an already flaw-filled FBI filing for a warrant to prolong eavesdropping on Carter Page. (Page was a foreign policy adviser who began working with the Trump campaign in March 2016.). Trouble is that on the same day (Jan. 12, 2017) that Comey told the FISA Court that Steele’s reporting was "verified", Comey emailed then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper admitting that the FBI was "not able to sufficiently corroborate the [Steele’s] reporting".
If you find it difficult to reconcile those two statements, you are not alone. Was Steele’s reporting "verified"? Or was it uncorroborated? How to explain.
Comey was hell-bent on renewing the original (October 21, 2016 ) 90-day warrant he signed to surveil Carter Page. And if that required morphing "uncorroborated" into "verified", no big deal? The rubber-stamp FISA judge would be none the wiser, and who knows what juicy tidbits might turn up in that surveillance.