Forget that it is “opposition research”. That means absolutely nothing and is only being used to give it a perception of “taint”. It’s meaningless. Yes, using ANY information that just walks in off the street and has no other context and has no verification and such is wrong, whether it’s opposition research or any other source. But this was not that.
Steele was not just some random guy that walked in off the street. What part of “he had a history of credibility with the FBI” is not clear?
The information gathered was from a very experienced, seasoned and proven intelligence officer who has been cultivating his contacts for decades and has a history of providing reliable and credible information to the FBI. The methods he used, and the contacts he used, are the same as he always has…it’s the beginning of the investigation process, not the end of it. It’s very raw information that is passed on to “the next level” of investigatory authority, in this case the FBI. Steele had a history of reliable, credible information gathering with the FBI, so they take what he provides very seriously, as they should. They had no reason not to, as far as we know.
None of the raw information that he provided has been proven wrong. No, it has not been confirmed accurate either, but Steele still claims that he is confident of at least 80% of it. Some of it, like the story of the prostitutes, even he said he was not confident of, but he included it anyway because you never know if some random bit of information like that might mesh up with something else the FBI has.
I have no idea if any of the information in the dossier would be found accurate and where that will ultimately lead. What does seem clear is that after the initial FISA warrant on Page, it was renewed three times. From what I understand, for the court to renew it, it requires that new information to warrant the renewal must have been obtained from the original FISA warrant, so there is that.
The FBI had their own evidence concerning Page. He was a guy who also had a history with the FBI. He had already been under scrutiny for possibly being used by the Russians a few years ago (2013ish). That’s a very important part of all of this. So when the FBI received information from someone that they have a history with of providing credible information and this information points to Page as having a possible problem with the Russians and they can verify that Page did indeed visit Moscow at the time being suggested, of course that is damn sure to raise some hackles! It would have been the utmost of negligence if it did not.
It seems that originally Page appeared on the FBI radar (2013) because he was determined to be a target of some Russians who wanted to draw him into working with them and providing information to them. Apparently, the Russians thought of him as kind of a dupe who was an easy mark, or something. The FBI assessed the situation with Page at the time and I believe determined he had not actually “flipped”, but was in a position to help nail the Russians. So, apparently, Page was involved in working with the FBI in order to do that.
Here’s where it gets dicey for Page, though. You would think a guy like that, who was a target of the Russians to be used as an informant for the Russians, just might, once alerted to this by the FBI and going through what he did, want to steer clear of any involvement with the Russians in the future.
The fact that he came up on the FBI’s radar yet again with some involvement with the Russians, raised a huge red flag once again, and especially so now that Page had a connection to Trump and the presidential campaign and all of the implications that involves.
So, all of this has that context that the Trump defenders are missing or ignoring (my money is on ignoring).
People are either being ignorant or being disingenuous about how a guy like Steele gathers the raw information that is provided to the FBI. I assure you, the FBI fully understands it. They are exactly aware of how Steele operates and what the information he provides means. They fully understand the level of verification and the types of sources that Steele uses. If you want to get a good feel for how it all works, I suggest you read the full transcript of Simpson’s (Fusion GPS) house testimony. He goes into great detail on how all of that works. The FBI knows all of that. That’s what is missing from the Trump defender’s narrative.
This was not a situation where some guy walked into the FBI and handed some information over and claimed it all to be 100% confirmed fact. This was raw, unverified, unconfirmed information gathered by an intelligence professional who has been doing this for decades. Again, I assure you that the FBI is well aware of all of that.
Seriously, if everything was confirmed and verified, why would there be any further need of an investigation or need of a FISA warrant?
That’s all part of the process of verification. They got the raw information from a reliable and credible source, it sparked big concerns due to the history of Page and other information that they had…so they concluded that it was serious enough for further investigation. That’s exactly what the FISA warrant is for. It’s an investigation, and part of the process of confirming the information and the suspicions that they have. If Steele walked in with a tidy little package, completely confirmed and verified…why would there even be a need for the FISA warrant? That argument is completely lacking in logic.
Those who claim that the FBI were overly reliant on Steele’s reputation have no idea about that. Do they know the specific history of Steele’s work with the FBI? Do they know how much information provided by Steele over the years have proven credible and accurate? Do they know how reliant they actually were of the information in the dossier? Do they know what other information they also had on Page that was used to form their analysis? Do they have any idea what information they had that could corroborate the specific information about Page in the dossier or at least raise sufficient questions? Do they know specifically what the FISA application says and all of the specific questions that the FISA judges might have asked before granting the warrant? Do they know what information was obtained during the first FISA warrant that prompted the judges to renew the warrant?
No, they don’t know any of these answers. Instead, they choose to ignore their ignorance to all of these questions and speculate about a huge conspiracy to take out Trump (even though Page wasn’t even part of the Trump campaign at the time)…all to fit a pre-determined narrative.