You'll recall that Michael Gaeta was, in the summer of 2016, stationed at the FBI's Legat office in Rome. He had in the past been Chris Steele's handling agent and when, at the beginning of July he got a call from Steele telling him that he (Steele) had some very hot but unspecified info for him, Gaeta dropped everything and rushed off to London.
That raises all kinds of questions in my mind for which I have no convincing answer at this point. The FBI has numerous Legat offices around the world, but London is certainly one of the largest and most prestigious. They operate on a regional basis, just as FBI Field Divisions in the US operate territorially. Just as an FBI agent would never travel to another Field Division in the US to conduct investigation without notification (there are exceptions to the general rule), likewise no agent at one Legat would simply fly to the territory of another Legat to conduct investigation. In fact we do know that Gaeta sought and received permission for his jaunt from no less a high DoS official than Victoria Nuland, but why an agent stationed in London could not have visited Steele remains unclear to me--as does who at FBIHQ would have been aware of Gaeta's trip.
That said, the main point of Felten's article concerns Bruce Ohr.
In his testimony to the House, Bruce Ohr described how he would meet with Chris Steele, receive hoax material, and then pass it along to the FBI. Then he added:
“As I saw it, I was receiving information that I passed to people who were working on the investigation, and they decided what to do with it. I don't know what they did with it.
“I don't know what investigations specifically were existing at the time. I didn't have any input or work on those investigations.”
That was never a terribly convincing story. We've known for a long time that Ohr briefed several well connected Clintonista's at DoJ--including Andrew Weissmann--on what was going on. Remarkably, as noted by IG Horowitz, those same DoJ Clintonistas who had absolutely no business knowing about Chris Steele or Crossfire Hurricane, met in September (or possibly early October), 2016, with Steele himself as well as with Ohr and FBI officials--Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. That was at the time that the Carter Page FISA was in the works. Exactly: inquiring minds have lots of questions.
Anyway, in his own House testimony this is what Gaeta had to say about Ohr. Remember that Gaeta and Ohr had worked together previously--with Steele. So Gaeta, having been in contact with Steele in July, was contacted by Ohr in August. This is how Gaeta describes that conversation:
“August, he calls me and says, ‘Have you seen this stuff from Steele?’ – Chris or Steele, whatever he says. I said yes,” Gaeta recalled. “And so now I assume he had either spoken to Steele or had seen him. I didn't know, and I didn't ask.”
Ohr, the agent said, wasted no time in making a request: “And he goes, ‘We just want to make sure – we, or me and my bosses – want to make sure the FBI is handling it and doing something about it.’”
Gaeta told Ohr, “I am putting it in the hands of this unit at headquarters who's going to look at it.”
“Okay, good,” was Ohr’s reply. “We just want to make sure.”
The obvious question, to paraphrase the old Lone Ranger joke, is: What you mean "we", Bruce? In Gaeta's testimony he never seems to ask obvious questions, or try to find the answers to obvious questions in some other way.
In Gaeta's defense, Ohr was, by then, very high up at DoJ. He was essentially #3--only Sally Yates and Loretta Lynch outranked him. That makes Ohr's phone call to Gaeta rather remarkable--enough so that you might have expected that Gaeta would contact someone at FBIHQ to ask, What gives with Ohr calling me to push a case?
Again, who was that "we"? Was it Sally and Loretta? All three would have been simpatico in political terms (simpatincx?). Or was "we" the group of three prosecutors with whom Ohr says he was keeping "in the loop," despite the fact that they had absolutely no need to know? That Gang of Three Clintonistas would have been Andrew Weissmann, Zainab Ahmad, and Bruce Swartz. Any way you slice it, Ohr was not being candid with the House--he was clearly peddling a false narrative to the extent that he was able to.
These are all building blocks for Durham to use in building his conspiracy case. And to draw all the conspirators into his web.