Analysis: IG’s FISA Report Undercuts ‘Schiff Memo,’ Which Defended FBI And Steele Dossier
CHUCK ROSSINVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
- The Justice Department watchdog’s report undercut key claims in the so-called Schiff Memo, released in February 2018 by Rep. Adam Schiff.
- The memo downplayed the Steele dossier’s significance to the FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page. Schiff released it in response to a memo from Rep. Devin Nunes which criticized the FBI’s handling of the dossier.
- The DOJ watchdog found that the FBI made significant errors and omissions in its applications to spy on Page.
The Justice Department inspector general’s report undercut many of the claims in a memo that Rep. Adam Schiff released in February 2018 defending the FBI and the Steele dossier, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
In the memo, Schiff, a California Democrat, downplayed the FBI’s use of information from former British spy Christopher Steele in applications for surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Schiff, who now chairs the House Intelligence Committee, also asserted that the FBI did not omit any key details about Steele from the warrant applications and that investigators went to great lengths to verify the dossier
The Justice Department inspector general’s report contradicted Schiff’s defense. It listed 17 significant omissions and errors that the FBI made in the Carter Page surveillance warrants, including derogatory information about Steele and at least one of his sources.
Schiff’s memo was a response to a report that his counterpart, California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, released on Feb. 2, 2018. The so-called Nunes memo criticized the FBI for relying on the unverified Steele dossier and for failing to disclose evidence of Steele’s political and personal bias against Donald Trump. Schiff defended the FBI and Steele, a former British spy who worked in 2016 for the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. (RELATED: DOJ Watchdog Faults FBI Over ‘Significant Inaccuracies’ In Carter Page Spy Warrants)
The key claim in the Nunes memo — that the Steele dossier “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application” — is backed up by the inspector general’s report. The inspector general also faulted the FBI for failing to tell the surveillance court that Steele told a Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, that he was “desperate” in September 2016 to see Donald Trump lose the election.
The Nunes memo does have some flaws. It criticized the FBI for failing to disclose that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded Steele’s investigation of Trump. But as Democrats have noted, the FBI acknowledged that Steele was working for someone who opposed Trump’s presidential candidacy.
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