Douglas Andrews / April 1, 2021

The Steele Dossier Was Garbage

Recently unsealed testimony of an obscure FBI analyst confirms what we long suspected.

Brian Auten doesn’t live in infamy alongside the likes of John Brennan, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Kevin Clinesmith, but he ought to. Because his role in Crossfire Hurricane, the Russia-collusion railroading of our 45th president, was every bit as instrumental as that of those other malefactors.

How so? By perpetuating the lie that is the Steele dossier, an opposition-research document bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, vouched for by the FBI, and used with devastating effect to secure FISA warrants for spying on Donald Trump.

As Paul Sperry writes in RealClearInvestigations, “For the past four years, Democrats and the Washington media have suspended disbelief about the Steele dossier’s credibility by arguing that some Russia allegations against Donald Trump and his advisers have been corroborated and therefore the most explosive charges may also be true. But recently declassified secret testimony by the FBI official in charge of corroborating the dossier blows up that narrative.”

That heretofore obscure FBI official was Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten, and he knew the Steele dossier was garbage and its contents a farrago of falsehoods. And yet he didn’t do a thing about it.

The supposed kompromat that the Russians had on Trump? The grainy “golden shower” videotape of him in the Moscow Ritz Carlton hotel, ordering prostitutes to urinate on a bed once slept in by former President Barack Obama? A fake, a fraud, and the source of endless speculation from the Trump-hating media. Other salacious claims like it? Also false.

Auten, who was the top analyst assigned to Crossfire Hurricane, “admitted under oath that neither he nor his team of half a dozen intelligence analysts could confirm any of the allegations in the dossier — including ones the FBI nonetheless included in several warrant applications as evidence to establish legal grounds to electronically monitor a former Trump adviser for almost a year,” Sperry says. “After years of digging, Auten conceded that the only material in the dossier that he could verify was information that was already publicly available, such as names, entities, and positions held by persons mentioned in the document.”

As Sperry notes, Auten’s testimony is uniquely powerful, because it’s the first time anybody from the FBI has admitted that their leadership failed to verify any of the dossier’s evidence supporting the wiretaps on Trump officials. And while Auten is obscure, he’s interacted with everyone from Comey on down — McCabe, Strzok, Page, British spy and Trump-hating dossier author Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS cofounder Glenn Simpson, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, everyone.

Word around Washington is that Special Counsel John Durham is continuing his investigation of the crooked investigators. Let’s hope so. In January, Durham secured a criminal conviction against FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith for having falsified evidence against Trump campaign associate Carter Page to help justify the last FISA spy warrant, which was issued in June 2017.

The conviction of Clinesmith was a slap on the wrist. An embarrassment. He got probation — probation — for having faked evidence that was used to secure a spy warrant against a sitting U.S. president. If we can’t do better, our constitutional republic is in serious trouble.

“John Durham’s inquiry into the origins and conduct of the Trump-Russia investigation is chugging along during the Biden administration,” reports the Washington Examiner, “with the special counsel arranging witness interviews and issuing subpoenas in recent months, according to a new report. … A report from CNN published on Tuesday cited unnamed sources who said that after delays last year, pinned on the coronavirus pandemic, Durham’s investigators ‘are now arranging witness interviews’ and grand jury subpoenas ‘also were being used to gather documents in recent months.’”

Still, at this snail’s pace, is it any wonder that folks are getting frustrated? Former President Donald Trump is one of them. “Where’s John Durham?” he asked last week. “Is he a living, breathing human being? Will there ever be a Durham report?”

Former FBI Special Agent Michael Biasello certainly hopes so. Biasello, a 25-year FBI veteran who spent 10 years in counterintelligence, said Auten and his colleagues must be held accountable.

“A FISA warrant must be fully corroborated,” he says. “Every statement, phrase, paragraph, must be verified in order for the affiant to attest before a judge that the contents are true and correct. … To think the Crossfire team signed off on those FISA affidavits knowing the contents were uncorroborated is unconscionable, immoral and also illegal.”

Biasello added, “All of them must be prosecuted for perjury, fraud and other federal crimes.”

The more we learn about the as-yet unresolved episode known as Crossfire Hurricane, the more we realize what an affront it was and what a threat it still is to republican government.

Remember this new name, then. It’s Brian Auten. And like Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and the rest of them, he’s as crooked as a stick in water.

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