Basically, the senators are demanding that AG Barr declassify four footnotes in the Horowitz Dossier. The reason for their demand is that they assert that the classified footnotes contradict supposed "information" that was made public in the Horowitz Dossier. The senators' letter to Barr is in two versions--one classified, the other unclassified and made public. The unclassified version states in part:
We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified. Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes. This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation. The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
I'm guessing that Barr will need to take these complaints seriously. They strike at the credibility of both OIG and DoJ. Could it be that these footnotes relate to John Durham's harsh comments on Horowitz's work?
Recall that when the IG FISA report was first issued, both Barr and John Durham publicly disagreed with some aspects of Horowitz's findings in rather strong terms. Specificially, Barr and Durham stated that they disagreed with Horowitz's "finding" that the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly "predicated"--that the FBI had an adequate reason for even launching the investigation.
In my blog at the time I took a look at four footnotes that appeared to match up with the concerns that the two senators expressed. At the time I only really looked at two, because the other two footnotes didn't appear to be that consequential. What I found was that in those two footnotes, the overall context suggested strongly that Christopher Steele's credibility--as well as that of his supposed sources--was being called into question. That, of course, meant that the credibility of the FBI's FISA applications would also be called into question. As it happens, both the FISC and the FBI have recently publicly stated that at least several of those FISA applications--including the last one, which was submitted when Team Mueller was already operational--were "illegal."
Now, I have always supposed that the official story that Crossfire Hurricane was NOT predicated on information from Christopher Steele was disinformation. I still hold to that view, even though the official documentation seems to support that version. This is where I believe Cleveland's new analysis is important. Cleveland's analysis focuses on a footnote that I wasn't aware of, footnote #302, and her analysis points to the importance of what the two senators are talking about and strongly suggests that the redactions may be at the very heart of Barr and Durham's criticism of Horowitz's report. What is misleading about Horowitz's report in its published/redacted version is that it gives the impression that Steele had no particular involvement in the origin of Crossfire Hurricane--it appears to support the FBI's official explanation that Papadopoulos and the completely dodgy narrative surrounding Papadopoulos' conversations with Downer and Mifsud served as the predication.
Let's take this step by step.
Cleveland focuses on "Person 1", who is described as a "key sub-source" for Steele. Of course, Steele was the key source behind the FBI's FISA application. Now we learn that Person 1 was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation before the original FISA application was submitted to the FISC. But that highly relevant information was withheld from both the DoJ's Office of Intelligence (OI) as well as from the FISC itself. The reason this information was withheld from the FISC is obvious enough. The reason it would have been withheld from the OI is that Stuart Evans worked there, and we know from the Strzok/Page texts that Evans was giving Strzok a hard time about the FISA application. If Evans had known about Person 1 being under investigation he might very well have rejected the application before it ever got to the FISC.
But then matters surrounding Person 1 get even more interesting, and appear to shed light on the concerns of both the two senators as well as the criticisms of Barr/Durham:
While those aspects of the IG report seem straightforward, other passages concerning Person 1 raise more questions than answers. For instance, the IG report noted that FBI Case Agent 1 said “he did not know whether Steele had his own relationship with Person 1.” Another portion of the IG report—again obscured in a footnote—mentioned that “Person 1,” described as “an important Steele election reporting sub-source,” “had been engaging in ‘sustained’ contact with [George] Papadopoulos since at least August 2016.”
Connections Between Dossier and Crossfire Hurricane
Person 1’s connection to Papadopoulos, as well as Steele’s primary sub-source and possibly even Steele, should sound alarms since the FBI has long maintained that the Steele dossier had nothing to do with the launch of Crossfire Hurricane. Rather, the FBI claimed it launched Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016, after receiving information from a “Friendly Foreign Government” (FFG) that Papadopoulos, who then served as a volunteer foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, had told Australian Diplomat Alexander Downer months earlier that the Russians had dirt on Hillary.
But the IG report now reveals a connection between Papadopoulos and Steele in Person 1. And a cryptic passage in the IG report re-read in light of the Grassley-Johnson warning suggests the connection is not merely coincidental.
That passage concerns the FBI officials’ explanation for why they took Steele’s reporting seriously. The officials told the IG’s team that “a significant fact in their consideration of the Steele information for the FISA application was that the Steele reporting on Carter Page appeared to be consistent with the information from the FFG that came from an independent reporting stream.” Those “two reporting streams could have connectivity,” the IG noted, and the FBI should have realized as much by October 2016, based on Person 1’s “sustained contact” with Papadopoulos, according to Horowitz.
This passing aside connects Person 1 not just to Papadopoulos and Steele, but to the FFG—the “two reporting streams” of “intel”!
Yet the IG accepted the FBI’s claim that the FFG information predicated the launch of Crossfire Hurricane, noting that they “did not find information in FBI or Department [Electronic Communications,] emails, or other documents, or through witness testimony, indicating that any information other than the FFG information was relied upon to predicate the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
My position has been that the reason Crossfire Hurricane was not openly predicated on the Steele "dossier" was because the CIA and FBI did not want Crossfire Hurricane expressly connected to the Hillary campaign's opposition research shop, which Steele worked for: Fusion GPS. That would be a dead giveaway that the entire investigation was no more than a political operation. Instead, Papadopoulos was set up with a bogus narrative about the Hillary emails--one which Papadopoulos has always (and credibly) denied--in order to afford a plausible predication. Only then was the Steele "dossier" brought into play for the separate purpose of obtaining the FISA on the Trump campaign.
In light of all this, Cleveland rightly returns to what she believes is the common thread between the public statements of Barr/Durham--issued at the same time as the IG's report--and the subsequent letter from the two senators:
[W]e already know that Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham disagree with the IG’s predication conclusion: Durham released a statement after the IG report hit, stressing that “[b]ased on the evidence collected to date, . . . we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” We also now know from the Grassley-Johnson letter that “certain sections” of the IG report “are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information” contained in the redacted footnotes.
AG Barr has made it crystal clear that he regards these issues as key to the Durham investigation. The focus that Durham has shown on the Italian, British, and Australian involvement in the Russia Hoax confirms that--as does Cleveland's analysis.