BREAKING: The FISA Memo Has Been Released: Read It Here (FULL TEXT ADDED)


FISA memo released

This is a developing story. The full text and images of the memo are below.

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The FISA memo authorized by Rep. Devin Nunes has been declassified, and as excerpts are released, we are finding that many of the charges that were made against the FBI and those at Fusion GPS (authors of the Russia/Trump dossier) were correct and justified.

In particular, it appears Christopher Steele, the primary investigator and author of the dossier, was determined not to see Donald Trump elected, and used the FBI and intelligence community to spread his dossier.

It also appears a Yahoo News reporter was leaked information from the dossier for a story, and as a result, that Yahoo News article was used as justification to obtain a FISA warrant.

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Here is the full text of the memo.

January 18, 2018
To: HPSCI Majority Members
From: HPSCI Majority Staff
Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Purpose
This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the
Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings,
which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of
certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
(FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to
protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update
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)(l)), 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.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions
(including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence
in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the
government to the highest standard—particularly as it relates to surveillance of
American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans,
which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily
dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant
facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the
FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the
government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to
accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings
indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1) 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.

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.

2) 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.

a) 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 should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed
contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September—before the Page application
was submitted to the FISC in October—but Steele improperly concealed from and
lied to the FBI about those contacts.

b) 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.

a) 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.

4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant
Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the
time of the initial Page FISA application. 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 motivations. Furthermore, 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.

5) 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.

Here are images of the memo.

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Fox News reports.

It also claims the FBI and DOJ used media reporting to lend credibility to the dossier, while the firm behind the dossier, Fusion GPS, briefed major American news outlets to include New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, New Yorker, Yahoo and Mother Jones.

The memo shoes that after former British spy Christopher Steele was cut off from the FBI, he continued to pass information, as did Fusion GPS, through Justice Department Official Bruce Ohr. Ohr’s wife Nellie began working for Fusion GPS as early as May 2016.

It also claims evidence that Steele has a personal animus for the President Trump.

The impending release of the four-page memo comes after the House Intelligence Committee voted earlier this week, over Democratic objections, to make the document public. This led to a rare and stunning rebuke from the bureau, which said Wednesday they had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

The memo includes alleged abuses involving FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

In a last-ditch objection, the top Democrat on the House committee claimed overnight that Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had made “material changes” to the memo that was sent to the White House for review.

But Nunes’ office described the changes as minor and blasted the complaint as a “bizarre distraction from the abuses detailed in the memo.”

The White House has backed the memo’s release, calling for “transparency.”

Earlier Friday, President Trump unleashed an early-morning tweet at a Justice Department he said has been “politicized” by Democrats.

GOP-led House investigators believe the FBI used a dubious dossier, initially prepared as campaign opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, to get permission from a secret federal court to eavesdrop on Trump campaign and transition team communications.

“The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago,” Trump wrote. “Rank & File are great people!”

Just more than two weeks, Republican lawmakers first drew attention to the memo, with some calling it “shocking,” “troubling” and “alarming” and one likening the details to KGB activity in Russia. They argued the memo should be immediately made public, leading to a social media #ReleaseTheMemo campaign.

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