Wednesday, March 01, 2017

FBI Had Planned to Pay British Spy Who Authored Trump Dossier

Donald Trump and his henchmen have loudly disavowed the 35 page dossier prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele.  Many of his fellow Republicans who put party above country have followed suit and painted a picture of the dossier and its author as unreliable.  Now, it seems that the FBI though otherwise and had planned to pay Steele to continue his work to ferret out Trump/Russia ties until the dossier was leaked and the political storm surrounding it broke.  In my gut, I continue to believe that there is fire beneath the smoke contained in the dossier and that the most important thing the intelligence agencies can do is to document Trump's treason (and that of his minions, hopefully, including Mike Pence).  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the FBI's plan to have engaged Steele.  Here are excerpts:
The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump’s political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.
The agreement to compensate former MI6 agent Christopher Steele came as U.S. intelligence agencies reached a consensus that the Russians had interfered in the presidential election by orchestrating hacks of Democratic Party email accounts.
While Trump has derided the dossier as “fake news” compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation.
Ultimately, the FBI did not pay Steele. Communications between the bureau and the former spy were interrupted as Steele’s now-famous dossier became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials, according to the people familiar with the arrangement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Steele was familiar to the FBI, in part because the bureau had previously hired him to help a U.S. inquiry into alleged corruption in the world soccer organization FIFA. The FBI sometimes pays informants, sources and outside investigators to assist in its work. Steele was known for the quality of his past work and for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence. The Washington Post was not able to determine how much the FBI intended to pay Steele had their relationship remained intact.
The revelation that the FBI agreed to pay Steele at the same time he was being paid by Clinton supporters to dig into Trump’s background could further strain relations between the law enforcement agency and the White House.
A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment. Steele’s London-based attorney did not respond to questions about the agreement.
Steele’s frustration with the FBI peaked after an Oct. 31 New York Times story that cited law enforcement sources drawing conclusions that he considered premature. The article said that the FBI had not yet found any “conclusive or direct link” between Trump and the Russian government and that the Russian hacking was not intended to help Trump.
After the election, the intelligence community concluded that Russia’s interference had been intended to assist Trump.

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