The stern indictment this month of Igor Danchenko, the Russian citizen accused of lying to the FBI whose work turned out to be the main source of the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, has been treated as a major embarrassment to much of the media — and if the shipments continue, that’s Exactly what it is.
Put media criticism aside for a while. What the indictment reveals even more is that the FBI has become a dirty tricks bureau, only mitigating its own incompetence – like a combination of Inspector Javert and Inspector Clouseau. Perhaps the best move Donald Trump took as president (which I was wrong about at the time) was to impeach him.
If you haven’t followed the string of discoveries, in late 2019, Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, published a damning report detailing “many fundamental and material errors” the FBI had made in pursuing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Tribunal of Carter Page’s surveillance warrant, The American businessman cited by the file as a possible link between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Shortly thereafter, Chief Justice Rosemary Collier issued her scathing reprimand to the office: “It turns out that the repetitions given by the FBI agents were not supported or contradicted by the information in their possession, with which they withheld harmful information to their case, calls into question whether The information in other FBI applications was reliable.”
And here a question arose: Were the FBI’s mistakes a matter of general incompetence or bias? There appears to be a widespread pattern of FBI agents exaggerating the evidence to support their suspicions. This led to distorted acts such as the bureau going after the wrong man in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
But it turns out that the office can be incompetent And siding. When the FBI applied for injunctions to continue wiretapping the page, it already knew Page was helping the CIA, not the Russians. We know this because in August 2020, former FBI attorney Kevin Clisesmith pleaded guilty to rewriting an email to conceal Page’s ties to the CIA.
And why does Kleinsmith do that? The bureau certainly helped renew the page’s wiretapping commands, and as he once said in a text message to a colleague, “Long live the resistance.” When the purpose of government service is to stop the “lunatics” (one of Kleinsmith’s descriptions of elected administration), the ends quickly find a way to justify the means.
Which brings us to the grand jury indictment of Danchenko in the investigation by special counsel John Durham. Danchenko was Steele’s main source for the most attention-grabbing allegations in the file, including the existence of a possible legendary “pee tape”. Steele, in turn, wrote his report for Fusion GPS, an opposition research group hired by a Washington law firm close to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Translation: Steele’s file was a Democratic-funded opposition research sub-contractor to Danchenko, who now faces charges of repeatedly lying to the FBI about his own sources while also being investigated a decade ago for possible occurrence. Relations with Russian intelligence. Danchenko has pleaded not guilty and has vehemently denied ties to the KGB, and he deserves his day in court. He describes the raw intelligence he collected for Steele as little more than a collection of rumors and insinuations and claims Steele has dressed them up for Fusion GPS.
Of these malice were years of high-profile FBI investigations, laborious congressional hearings, Adam Schiff’s resonant monologues, and persistent public outrage. But none of that would have happened if the FBI had treated the file as rubbish, emphasizing the ways Russia sought to influence the election on Trump’s behalf, or the ways Trump campaigned (particularly through Its former manager, Paul Manafort, was vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Instead, Comey used it as a political weapon by privately briefing President-elect Trump, despite abundant warnings about the dossier’s credibility. In doing so, Komi made the file’s news presence “unverified lewdness” in itself. As Charles Lipson of the University of Chicago astutely notes, Comey’s briefing “may be seen as a kind of blackmail threat, the kind that characterized the period of J. Edgar Hoover.”
If you are a certain type of reader – perhaps a conservative – who has followed the Durham investigation closely, none of the above will come as news. But I am writing this column for those who have not followed him closely, or who may have cared more about tales about Trump being a puppet of Russia than the evidence that, for all his many and grave sins, he was the victim. A massive slander instigated by the FBI
Democrats who don’t ever want the massive power the bureau wields against one of them — as it was, after all, it was against Hillary Clinton — should use the Durham investigation as an opportunity to clean up, or clean up, the FBI once and for all.