FBI used the unfounded dirty dossier to get the FISA warrant against Trump campaign operative

Back on April 11, it was revealed that FISA surveillance had been authorized for a member of Donald Trump’s campaign. Carter Page, a guy with lots of consulting arrangements with Russian oil and gas interests, was fingered as the guy who the FBI was worried was an actual conscious agent of Russian intelligence. Given the nature of FISA surveillance, basically anyone Page talked to for a period of months was caught up in the net and had their conversations recorded, and possibly their identities unmasked.

Now CNN is reporting that the mostly discredited “Trump Dossier” that had circulated about last fall was one of the main sources of information that the FBI used to establish that Page had foreign intelligence ties.
This revelation creates a much more complicated case for the House and Senate committees investigating real and imagined skulduggery in the 2016 election.

For instance, the dossier was paid for by a political opposition research company for a hit on Trump. So the provenance of the information is not the cleanest. The dossier was shopped around Washington and no campaign chose to use it because they were skittish about its veracity. This is what the New York Times said about its refusal to publish the dossier:
Why can’t I read the memos on your website?

Because the 35 pages of memos prepared as opposition research on Mr. Trump contain detailed claims that neither the intelligence agencies nor The Times has been able to verify, Times editors decided to briefly summarize the claims and not publish the document.
There have been anonymous reports claiming that some of the conversations in the dossier have been confirmed but these were exclusively between foreign nationals. This opens the door to the possibility that the author, Christopher Steele, a guy with a long history with British intelligence, was able to get access to some existing conversations from connections there. As his client was an oppo research firm he probably didn’t imagine that it would end up in the hands of the CIA and FBI. Once that information made its way into the hands of the intelligence community it would serve to vouch for the whole report. But who knows. The FBI does seem to have become enamored of Steele. Not only did they reimburse him for some expenses and consider hiring him to investigate Trump, James Comey became one of the major proponents of the dossier, flogging it about as everyone else in political Washington ran screaming in the other direction.
The dirty dossier may become the focus of the Congressional investigations because without it there is little evidence to investigate.  If they are hanging their hat on the allegation that Carter Page was a Russian agent, they are likely to be very disappointed.  After all, this news was so fake that most reputable media outlets would not publish it.


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