Was the Steele Dossier a Crown Operation?

In his statement to Fox News last week, former U.S. Representative  Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said that in the much-discussed dispute between former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan, “Comey has a better argument than Brennan, based on what I’ve seen.”

As Debra Heine reports at PJ Media,

According to Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, sources familiar with the records say that “a late-2016 email chain indicated then-FBI Director James Comey told bureau subordinates that then-CIA Director John Brennan insisted the dossier be included in the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference, known as the ICA.”

The argument is over who argued for the inclusion of the Steele dossier in the Intelligence Community Assessment that was delivered on January 5, 2017 in a meeting with President Obama. Obama had ordered the assessment from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper the previous month.

According to Brennan, Comey argued for the dossier’s inclusion. But it was left out. Just two days after their meeting with President Obama,  at a Trump Tower meeting between President-elect Trump and Clapper, Brennan, and Comey, Comey according to Brennan, on his own, remained behind and gave Trump his first notice of the existence of the dossier. Comey also gave Trump limited information on “golden shower” assertion. Comey later called the Dossier “salacious and unverified” in his June 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Even so, James Comey had used the dossier in repeated FISA applications filings that described it as “verified.” Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified the dossier was “essential” to getting the FISA applications approved.

In a seven hour interview with the House Intelligence Committee, McCabe said he believed it met the standard of credibility to open an investigation.

But Gowdy also exclaimed: “They made no effort to corroborate the dossier until after it had been used in the application and a renewal. No effort! It’s not that they failed. They made no effort to do it!”

“Whoever’s investigating this,” Gowdy added, “tell them to look for emails between Brennan and Comey in December of 2016.”   

So why, if Gowdy is right, would Comey have wanted to keep the “salacious and unverified” dossier out of the ICA report to President Obama and Brennan have wanted to include it? Current evidence has now established that the Intelligence Community was well aware that the dossier was at the very least a political opposition research project of the Clinton campaign.

It had additionally been given warning of its questionable provenance and Steele’s anti-Trump political objectives by Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec before the presidential election, after a meeting with its purported author, Christopher Steele, in October 2016. Steele was fired by the FBI on November 1, 2016 for his media activities.

Debra Heine’s story in PJ Media last week offered a major clue:

Fox News was told that the email chain—not yet public—referred to the dossier as “crown material,” but it was not clear why this apparent code was used.

But what if it wasn’t “code.” What if the email chain was referring to actual “Crown material?” Was the U.S. Intelligence Community relying upon the veracity of the Steele Dossier, without verifying it, because it was “Crown material,” that is—produced with oversight by their reliable opposite numbers at British Intelligence?

We already know Christopher Steele was being paid by Fusion GPS as well as the FBI. What if this “retired MI6” operative was also working for his former employers as well? In the slippery world of intelligence operatives this would not be surprising. The oleaginous professor Stefan Halper was being used by the CIA/FBI (no one is clear which, or both) to entrap persons of interest like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in the IC’s examination of the Trump campaign in Spring 2016. This was well before the official initiation date given by James Comey for “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”—July 31, 2016.

Halper was also being paid by a honeypot in the ruins of Andrew Marshall’s once prestigious Office of Net Assessment, supposedly still in the Department of Defense. He had, also been working, however, at Cambridge University in Great Britain as his base of operations. Veteran Office of Net Assessment executive Adam Lovinger had his security clearance pulled by Obama officials on May 1, 2016 after looking into this, just after Halper’s entrapment operation.

Was it just a coincidence that almost all the pre-Crossfire Hurricane activities seemed based in Great Britain? And why did the head of Britain’s General Communications Headquarters, Robert Hannigan, seem to spend much of his time with CIA Director John Brennan when his opposite number as head of an electronic intelligence surveillance operation was Admiral Michael Rogers at the National Security Agency? And why did he go back to Great Britain to resign for “family reasons” just a few days after Trump’s inauguration?

It wasn’t only the Obama Intelligence Community that viewed Trump’s presidency as a disaster to be avoided at all cost. So did Theresa May’s government and much of the British establishment. They opposed the exit of Britain from the European Union, and Trump’s presidency was going to support “Brexit” and make it that much harder to avoid.

The Telegraph now adds a key piece of the puzzle:

Theresa May’s spy chiefs were secretly briefed on an explosive dossier of claims about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia before the US president was made aware of its existence, The Telegraph can reveal.

The heads of MI5 and MI6 and one of Mrs. May’s most trusted security advisers were told about former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s memos on the Trump campaign in the weeks after his November 2016 election victory.

So was Christopher Steele’s “crown material” really “Crown material”—an operation of British intelligence? Who was Steele really working for?

John Brennan is supposed to brief members of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. The Democrats are pretending that Brennan, a man with no security clearance and who has had no briefings on the subject for a long while now, can speak with authority about Iran. Democrats mean to use committee rules and gavel control to prevent members from asking real questions, like the one above. Perhaps someone can find a way to ask him this vital question—preferably under oath.

Photo Credit: David Goddard/Getty Images

Get the news corporate media won't tell you.

Get caught up on today's must read stores!

By submitting your information, you agree to receive exclusive AG+ content, including special promotions, and agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms. By providing your phone number and checking the box to opt in, you are consenting to receive recurring SMS/MMS messages, including automated texts, to that number from my short code. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to end. SMS opt-in will not be sold, rented, or shared.

About Thomas H. Lipscomb

Thomas H. Lipscomb is the founding publisher of Times Books at the New York Times Company and has published many bestsellers. His news reporting has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Sun and other papers. He has written op-eds and reviews for over 40 newspapers from the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal. As a digital entrepreneur he has founded and served as CEO of two public companies based upon his patents. He lives in New York.