Judge orders FBI to compile Steele communications

By WND Staff

Christopher Steele

Christopher Steele is known as the author of the infamous, debunked “dossier” that was used by the Obama administration to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

Soon, the public may know a lot more about the former British spy’s relationship with the FBI.

That’s after a federal judge ordered the bureau to search its records for its communications with Steele after the bureau fired him as a confidential source.

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper said “the potential for illuminating the FBI’s activities is not too difficult to discern.”

“Communications post-dating Steele’s time as an informant might reveal a great deal about why the FBI developed him as a CHS [confidential human source], his performance as a CHS, and why the FBI opted to terminate its relationship with him.”

The judge said the records “might either bolster or weaken Steele’s credibility as a source.”

“That information, in turn, could provide a basis on which to evaluate the FBI’s performance of its law-enforcement duties, including its judgment in selecting and relying on confidential sources, especially in connection with such a politically sensitive subject,” he said.

“Of course, the records Judicial Watch speculates about might not even exist – and even if they do, they may not reveal anything significant about the FBI’s operations. But that they might do so makes them a matter of potential public interest.”

Judicial Watch has been investigating the origins of the Obama administration investigation of alleged Trump-Russia collusion.

The ruling came in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records of communications and payments between the FBI, Christopher Steele and his private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.

The court initially had allowed the government to say it couldn’t confirm or deny the records.

But last year, some government records were declassified that revealed Steele’s role as an FBI informant and his firing by the FBI in November 2016. So the Judicial Watch case was reopened.

The FBI, however, continued to refuse to hunt for the records.

The judge said, on balance, any privacy interests Steele may have in keeping the documents secret are outweighed by the public’s interest in disclosure.

The judge found: “Steele’s privacy interests are far different from those courts usually consider under Exemption 7(C), where disclosure would make public for the first time an individual’s affiliation with law enforcement, whether as agent, cooperator, or target… The balance therefore tilts in favor of disclosure. Accordingly, the Court will order the FBI to conduct a search for records post-dating Steele’s service as a confidential source.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the court “was right to turn aside the FBI’s fake concerns for Clinton spy Christopher Steele’s privacy and order the agency to search for more records on its use of Steele and his Dossier to target President Trump.”

“That the FBI is still protecting Christopher Steele and the Clinton spy ring at Fusion GPS should tell you there is much more corruption to be exposed in the coup efforts against President Trump,” he said.

Judicial Watch says previous records revealed the FBI made almost a dozen payroll payments to Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign then fired him for leaking information.

“Judicial Watch also uncovered smoking gun documents showing that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant,” the government watchdog said.

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