The unverified 'Verified Application' to the FISA Court

Andrew McCarthy:
Here’s what you need to know: In rushing out their assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Obama-administration officials chose not to include the risible Steele-dossier allegations that they had put in their “VERIFIED APPLICATION” for warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) because . . . wait for it . . . the allegations weren’t verified.

And now, the officials are squabbling over who pushed the dossier. Why? Because the dossier — a Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed, based on anonymous Russian sources peddling farcical hearsay, compiled by a well-paid foreign operative (former British spy Christopher Steele) — is crumbling by the day.
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If dossier claims were still unverified when Comey testified to Congress in mid 2017 (and thereafter), then those claims could not have been verified when the Obama Justice Department and FBI submitted it to the FISC as a “VERIFIED APPLICATION” in October 2016. It also had to have been unverified on January 6, 2017, when the Obama administration chose to include a sliver of the dossier in the briefing of President-elect Trump — the day after intelligence chiefs met with President Obama in the Oval Office and discussed what Russia information should be shared with the incoming Trump team.

Indeed, as I’ve pointed out before, a January 2018 memo that has not gotten nearly enough attention, written by Judiciary Committee Senators Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), recounts then-director Comey’s concession that there was no meaningful corroboration of the dossier. Rather, the FBI and Justice Department included it in the “VERIFIED APPLICATION” because they trusted Steele (who, I note for the zillionth time, was not a source of information but an accumulator and purveyor of information from unverified sources. Steele’s credibility, consequently, was beside the point).

Moreover, FBI and Justice Department procedures require that information be vetted for factual accuracy before it is submitted to the FISC. The rules of the FISC require the Justice Department to notify the court promptly if misstatements or inaccuracies have been discovered. Far from alerting the FISC that information in what it boldly labeled the “VERIFIED APPLICATION” was actually unverified, the Justice Department and the FBI kept reaffirming the dossier allegations to the court — in January, April, and June of 2017.
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There is much more.

What should be clear is that the FBI misled the FISA court in order to get a hook into spying on the Trump campaign.  What is also clear from the Mueller investigation is there was no evidence to support the claims of collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia.  Instead, the evidence is accumulating that the Steele dossier was, in fact, a Russian influence operation that the FBI fell for.

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