FISA Memo Released: Here's What It Says

by Tyler Durden, via Zerohedge


The just released FISA memo accuses senior officials at the DOJ of inappropriately using biased opposition research into then-candidate Trump to obtain surveillance warrants on transition team members as part of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to the document, information from the the so-called Steele dossier was “essential” to the acquisition of surveillance warrants on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It claims that then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December that without the information from the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrant for Page would have been sought.
The memo alleges that the political origins of the dossier — paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request.
The document claims that although the FBI had “clear evidence” that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, was biased against Trump, it did not convey that to the surveillance court when making its warrant applications. Steele told then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” the memo says.
House conservatives have touted the memo’s revelations as “worse than Watergate” and hinted that it could prove the undoing of the federal investigation into Trump’s campaign. Meanwhile, Democrats on the panel say that it is a cherry-picked set of inaccurate accusations designed to kneecap special counsel Robert Mueller. They have drafted their own counter-memo to rebut the Republican-drafted document, but the majority voted against immediately making that document public earlier this week.
The memo is based on a slate of highly-classified materials provided to the committee by the Justice Department itself, in a closed-door deal brokered by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Naturally, the DOJ has claimed that the release of the memo is an abrogation of the terms of that deal, an assertion spokesmen for both Ryan and Nunes have rejected.
Meanwhile, the underlying evidence remains classified, a state of affairs that Democrats and some national security analysts say makes it impossible to independently verify the memo’s conclusions.
As The Hill reported earlier, ahead of the document’s release, Paul Ryan privately urged House Republicans not to overplay the document — and not to tie it to the Mueller investigation.
Here are select excerpts from the FISA memo (full pdf below)

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.
The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.
Our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.
The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

What follows is what some have dubbed the “damning section”, as there was no reason not to disclosed the relationship between Clinton and Steele, unless the authors were worried about exposing a clear political link:

a)    Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.
b)    The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of—and paid by—the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

The section above also makes a good case for releasing the underlying FISA application, as either the Clinton connection was disclosed or it wasn’t – not a fact either party can distort.
In a curious twist, in order to corroborate the dossier, the memo reveals that the FBI “extensively” cited a news article — that was based entirely on the dossier. In effect, using the dossier to corroborate the dossier.

The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.

The memo continues revealing more information about Steele and his clear political bias:

Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn.
Steele’s numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling—maintaining confidentiality—and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.
3)    Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files—but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.
During this same time period, Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs’ relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.
* * *
After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was – according to his June 2017 testimony – “salacious and unverified.”  While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivationsFurthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.
The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.

The bottom line: as noted earlier, if found that there was clear undisclosed bias in the launch of surveillance of Trump’s team, then Mueller’s probe – whose findings would be the result of a flawed FISA warrant – would be null and void, leave space for Trump to fire the special prosecutor or Rod Rosenstein.
Incidentally, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump suggested the document shows political bias at the FBI that tainted the probe into whether his campaign cooperated with Russia’s election meddling.
“I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump said of the alleged bias. “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.”
The decision cleared the way for the House Intelligence Committee to release the memo, which it did shortly after noon. “It was declassified and let’s see what happens,” Trump said. White House made no redactions to the document.

* * *

Just before noon on Friday, the “FISA” memo compiled by House Intelligence Committee staff, led by chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), from classified documents provided by the Department of Justice, was officially declassified by Trump’s lawyer Donald Gahn – over the objections of the DOJ and the FBI – as explained in the letter below.
mcgahan memo
According to the Washington Examiner’s Byron York who had access to an early released version, a key point in the memo is that the “salacious and unverified” Steele dossier formed the essential part of the initial and all three renewal applications against Carter Page, in line with what as previously leaked.
As York also explicitly highlights, “The FBI’s Andrew McCabe confirmed to the committee that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
This, as Fox News confirms, means that absent the dossier, at least one of the surveillance warrants in the case would not have been obtained, and – by implication – the entire Mueller probe is thus on shaky legal ground.
Back to the memo, which as York adds, “the political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications.”

As Dow Jones confirms, DOJ officials knew Steele was being paid by democrats, and that officials at the DOJ and FBI signed one warrant, and three renewals against Carter Page.
York also notes that DOJ official Bruce Ohr was relayed information about Christopher Steele’s bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.
All else equal, sounds like a clear case of bias, and when extended, it would imply that the entire Mueller probe is based on grounds that could be overturned in court.
* * *
To recap, here are the key points disclosed in the memo, as summarized by the Washington Exmainer which has an early unclassified version of the memo:

  • The Steele dossier formed an essential part of the intial and all three renewal FISA applications against Carter Page.
  • Andrew McCabe confirmed that no FISA warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information.
  • The political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials, but excluded from the FISA applications.
  • DOJ official Bruce Ohr met with Steele beginning in the summer of 2016 and relayed to DOJ information about Steele’s bias. Steele told Ohr that he, Steele, was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected president and was passionate about him not becoming president.

As a reminder, the FBI and Justice Department mounted a months-long effort to keep the information outlined in the memo out of the House Intelligence Committee’s hands. Only the threat of contempt charges and other forms of pressure forced the FBI and Justice to give up the material.

Once Intelligence Committee leaders and staff compiled some of that information into the memo, the FBI and Justice Department, supported by Capitol Hill Democrats, mounted a ferocious campaign of opposition, saying release of the memo would endanger national security and the rule of law.
But Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes never wavered in his determination to make the information available to the public. President Trump agreed, and, as required by House rules, gave his approval for release.

Finally, the memo released today does not represent the sum total of what House investigators have learned in their review of the FBI and Justice Department Trump-Russia investigation. That means the fight over the memo could be replayed in the future when the Intelligence Committee decides to release more information.
Moments after the announcement that the memo was declassified, Trump spoke to reporters and was asked if the memo makes it more likely that he will fire Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to which Trump responded.

Full memo here.


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Feb 4, 2018 12:00 PM

“As when Dios unleashes a storm on the world to punish men for issuing crooked judgments from their courts, driving out justice and not reckoning on Divine Law.” — Iliad Bk16 L385

Feb 3, 2018 9:27 PM

Don’t miss PC Roberts http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48712.htm
“….Even the UK newspaper The Guardian, once a voice for the working class but now a PR agent for the police state, publicized the fabricated and unsubstantiated Second Dossier known to have been prepared by a Clinton operative.
“The print and TV media are utterly corrupt throughout the Western world and are accustomed to successfully defeating truth with lies. By sitting on the evidence while those guilty discredit it, Republicans played into the hands of the Russiagate conspirators.”

Feb 3, 2018 9:23 PM

Worse even than the US media are the colonial media outlets attempting to emulate them. Take this ‘analysis’ by the Toronto Star’s man in DC Daniel Dale

Feb 3, 2018 5:03 PM

Obviously Friday was “a good day to bury bad news” as the Trump junta published the NPR – that uses the same Russiagate big lies to justify nuclear proliferation?

Feb 3, 2018 3:17 PM

I had no idea the Guardian was such a piece of obnoxious sanctimonious fraudulance. Their articles on this Trump/Russia issue are always phrased on the dogmatic basis that Russian interference is beyond doubt and any details questioning this are not even raised.

Feb 3, 2018 1:09 PM

One of the things this whole “Dirty Dossier” affair raises is what total cooks our spooks really are. As with the Blair government and Campbell’s “Dodgy Dossier” we are here again. Bad intel given by those who claim to be acting to defend democracy. Of course this is nonsense and we see yet again how they are corrupted and answer only to the piper who pays for the tune.
What the PC pretenders at the Graun cannot understand is how Clinton’s corruption laid the basis for Trump to get elected. She as everyone knows cheated to beat Sanders. Even with the guardians of the deep state on her side she couldn’t manage to win. This alone has sent shock waves through the aristocracy.
Yet they seem to believe that War will correct the world spinning out of their control. To ensure this they have installed a praetorian guard of generals around Trump, not to protect him but ensure he isn’t able to go off script by starting WWlll accidentally and not at their bidding.
Most ordinary people realise it is not possible to win a global conflict, even with the idiots now talking up first strike options in the US. It might be possible to inflict terminal damage and total annihilation on your opponent, but you will merely stagger away and die a slow and painful death yourself.
So this is what we have come to a world of lies propagated as truth. And the Guardian is leading the charge. No doubt bought and paid for by those providing our daily dose of misinformation.

Feb 3, 2018 12:05 PM

Ukrainian NATZO puppet fighter is asked: ” Why do you fight in Donbas?” – “Because the Russian army is there.” – “Then why you are not fighting in Crimea?” – “Because the Russian army is really there.”
[The Ukies have more sense than to believe their own propaganda. And I cannot believe that, 15 years after spending blood and treasure combatting Saddam’s nonexistent WMD and other nonexistential threats, the USsies of today are more gullible than the Ukies of today]

Big B
Big B
Feb 3, 2018 9:39 AM

And the word of the day is allegedly – to proceed every claim in the Nunes Memo. I just caught the BBC response on the news at ten – it’s amazing how may times the reporter (it wasn’t milksop Sopel) could shoehorn the word into a sentence. The quote of the week (from the same source) “Putin must be wringing his hands” …in glee I presume, not because of the angst he inadvertently did nothing to cause?
I would like to remind the BBC (and the Guardian – which has 3-4 articles on Trumps “Nixonian” moment) that the “17 intelligence agencies” (including the Met office and Coast Guard) issued an evidence free dossier; that was caveated “if you believe this: you are a moron”; that was taken as proof absolute of Russian interference; that was debunked vigorously by the Agencies former analysts (VIPS); that was defended by Russophobes of both stripe (members of either wing of the War Party) with the logic that “you wouldn’t expect a declassified dossier to contain any actual evidence” …on this [faulty] logic alone, the ‘Nunes Nothing Burger’ is proof absolute that Russiagate is a fictitious fabric of lies? Which we all knew anyway!
McCabe has gone, Rosenstein is next (followed by Gildenstern? lol), and Strzok is on parking duty (until he gets brought back as Director of the FBI in the Winfrey regime – in 2024 at this rate?) …and the Democrats are looking under every bed for a ‘Red’ whilst getting Twitter to check for every tweet with Cyrillic script or a Russian sounding name to prove that Russia was behind #ReleaseTheMemo.
My, it may be a nothing burger, but its been fun just watching Pelosi’s facial expressions alone. And it is a welcome relief from a dying economy (America is booming – really?), a dying planet, and the mobilisation to humanities final spectacle – WW3 …O, it was meant as a distraction? OK, it was still fun anyway.

Feb 3, 2018 3:12 PM
Reply to  Big B

Interestingly, in the Guradian the word “alleged” does not precede claims of Russian interference.

Feb 3, 2018 4:28 PM
Reply to  George

Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes a Guardian headline! I’m impressed you had the stomach to read them. Damage limitation started on Tuesday with the corroborating Shearer dossier …two dodgy dossiers are better than one?

Feb 3, 2018 5:16 PM
Reply to  BigB

Yes it’s all vomitable stuff, but under a headline “What is the Nunes memo?” we read of the House intelligence committee:
“The committee is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election but the inquiry has devolved into a fight about the ​separate FBI investigation​, now​ led by special counsel Robert Mueller​.”
Note: no “alleged” re: the Russian interference. But also note how the inquiry has “devolved” into switching attention to the FBI investigation. “Devolved” you see i.e. we are being diverted from the important stuff about the absolutely indubitable Russian influence to this “side show”.

Johnny Hacket
Johnny Hacket
Feb 3, 2018 8:40 PM
Reply to  George

knowing the American election system as an edifice of corruption, lies , misinformation and billions of slush dollars combined with fraud bigotry and intimidation , one wonders how Russians would influence anything , they would not stand a chance .

Richard Wicks
Richard Wicks
Feb 3, 2018 3:45 AM

Russia did it!

Feb 3, 2018 1:47 AM

Apparently it sholdnever have been released but now it has its a nothing burger?
If it WASanothing burger the democratsshould have argued FOR its release!

Feb 2, 2018 11:36 PM

The very fact that an ex-spy who now runs a for profit company is writing this dossier should be taken seriously is red flag no.1.
But no surprise since we’re living in such pathetic times. The MSM makes Jim Jones followers look rational.

Thomas Peterson
Thomas Peterson
Feb 3, 2018 10:29 AM
Reply to  Sav

Christopher Steele has not been to Russia since 1993.

Feb 3, 2018 12:32 PM

Clearly that makes him an expert by The Guardian’s standards of journalistic rigour…

Marc Krizack
Marc Krizack
Feb 2, 2018 11:03 PM

The MEMO (it is not a “document” but merely an opinion), admits that the investigation began based on information received about George Papadopoulos and this was a year before the dossier was provided. Trump and his lackeys are trying to invalidate the facts by claiming they were acquired illegally. First, they apparently were not acquired illegally and second, the facts are the facts. This investigation is now only peripherally about alleged Trump-Russian collusion in affecting US elections. It is now about Trump’s obstruction of justice and his economic crimes from before he was even running for president.

Feb 2, 2018 11:16 PM
Reply to  Marc Krizack

So Russian collusion is not important any more?

Richard Wicks
Richard Wicks
Feb 3, 2018 3:47 AM
Reply to  Marc Krizack

I agree, the facts are the facts.
The facts are, that apparently the Trump campaign was spied upon based off from a dossier that was known not to be credible and the FISA courts were lied to to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.

Thomas Peterson
Thomas Peterson
Feb 3, 2018 10:31 AM
Reply to  Marc Krizack

Why would they spy on Carter Page then and not George Popadopoulos?
The memo is not an opinion, it asserts facts.

Feb 3, 2018 11:26 PM
Reply to  Marc Krizack

Marc, I absolutely agree with you that ‘the facts are the facts’. This is an amazingly profound statement that no one can argue with. But:
1) Can you give us one single fact about about ‘Russian interference’ in the US elections?
2) What the investigation is ‘now about’ (to quote you: ‘Trump’s obstruction of justice and his economic crimes from before he was even running for president’) is just shifting the goalposts. What’s that got to do with Russia. Right, nothing. CQFD.
[edited by Admin for typo]

Feb 2, 2018 10:57 PM

MI5 must have in some way approved Steele, their ex-spy, writing and publicising his report. The Official Secrets Act hasn’t been repealed, especially in relation to old spies using material obtained during their service. They must have given the nod to sensitive information being passed to what they also must have known (being spies) was a political PR organisation. Interfering in the election?

Feb 2, 2018 9:54 PM

It all seems very clear. It is indicative of the sort of corruption with which we are dealing when washington is involved that not only was the Deputy Attorney General Ohr’s wife on the DNC payroll, so, to the tune of some $700,000, was the wife of the deputy and acting chief of the FBI McCabe.