Christopher Steele has now been at the center of the SpyGate scandal for three and a half years. Throughout, there has been rampant speculation about where Steele got the information for various allegations in his infamous dossier, against President Donald Trump and associates, such as Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Carter Page, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort, among many others.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a highly anticipated report last December that detailed how FBI officials grossly abused the FISA Surveillance Court to obtain a warrant allowing them to legally spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and by extension, the entire Trump campaign.
For years, the mainstream media used anonymous sources to claim little if any of the Steele dossier was used for the Page warrant.
The Inspector General’s FISA Abuse Report definitively proved that not only was the Steele Dossier used to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] to grant the warrant, it also dropped a bombshell about the person Steele claimed as the main source for most of his Trump/Russia collusion information.
That key person is referred to as the ‘primary sub source’ [PSS] in the Horowitz report and many newly declassified documents.
Steele described this PSS to the FBI. He painted the PSS as a very highly placed asset, with connections close to Putin and Russian intelligence officials. Describing his PSS to the FBI in this way made it somewhat plausible that the dossier allegations Steele was giving to the agency were coming from top sources in Moscow.
But now it appears this is in doubt.
Ever since the Steele Dossier was published in full by Buzzfeed News in January 2017, there has been intense speculation as to who Steele’s sources were for the Trump/Russia collusion allegations found within it.
Because of documents declassified just a few days ago, SpyGate researchers at long last were able to nail down who Steele’s elusive PSS was. And wasn’t some highly placed person with an extensive network of Kremlin sources.
It turns out the PSS Steele identified to the FBI is a man named Igor Danchenko, a long-time research assistant at the Brookings Institution, a DC think tank where Ukraine impeachment witness Fiona Hill is a prominent figure.
From what I have been able to find, Danchenko does not appear to have been in Russia all that much since he came to the United States to become a facilitator for the Open World Program from 1999 to 2005.
From 2006 to 2009 Danchenko earned a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service while he also began working at Brookings as a research expert on Russian subjects.
Since 2009 he appears to have rattled around Washington DC being an available “Russian analyst for hire” with various energy firms and think tanks. His quotes appear in many different political and energy-related publications where he provides analysis from a “Russian expert” supposedly familiar with Moscow’s recent policies and Putin’s current state of mind.
That seems strange, making a living being a Russian expert at DC think tanks and energy firms when for all appearances Danchenko hasn’t spent any real time in Russia since 1999, a period of over twenty years.
Danchenko’s Disavowal Raises Big Questions
It is not accurate to say Igor Danchenko was Steele’s source for the false Carter Page allegations which ended up in the FISA surveillance warrant because when the FBI finally got around to asking Danchenko about this, he strongly disavowed having given Steele any of the warrant information.
If Danchenko was telling the truth, this would mean one of two things: Steele either made up the information himself or he got it from someone else – and he took steps to protect their identity from even the FBI.
If Steele lied to federal agents about where he got much of the Trump/Russia allegations that appear in his fake dossier, the question that naturally arises is: what else did he lie to them about?
The Timeline Is Important
Let’s remember the chain of events that happened as revealed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s FISA Abuse Report from last December:
- FBI Confidential Human Source [CHS] Stefan Halper spent several months setting up meetings with Trump campaign personnel such as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos to surreptitiously record them making incriminating statements. Begun in Spring of 2016, these recorded conversations continued into the Fall.
- As late September turned into early October, the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team realized time was running out. Since it was becoming increasingly apparent the secret recordings by Halper weren’t going to give them what they needed for the surveillance they wanted on the Trump campaign, they were forced to go back to Steele and make use of his dossier.
- In a rush to get the FISA warrant approved ahead of the fast-approaching election, no steps were taken to verify the allegations taken from Steele that went into the warrant.
- Only when the warrant was up for its first renewal in January of 2017 were FBI agents dispatched to interview Steele’s PSS, who strongly disavowed having given Steele the allegations that appear in the FISA warrant.
- Despite knowing the PSS has disavowed being the source for any of this, the FBI renewed the tainted warrant anyway, and then twice more, in April and June.
It was declassified this past May that Steele had revealed to State Department official Kathleen Kavalec that the two primary Russian sources for his dossier’s Trump/Russia allegations were a former high ranking KGB officer, Vyacheslav Trubnikov as well as a former Kremlin government official and close Putin advisor named Vladeslav Surkov.
When this State Department document was made public last May I instantly recognized Trubnikov’s name. Trubnikov has direct ties to someone right in the middle of the SpyGate scandal: former CIA operative and recent FBI informant Professor Stefan Halper.
As former Cambridge University Russia research fellow Svetlana Lokhova discusses in her new book, “SpyGate Exposed”, Halper invited Trubnikov to Cambridge to give several speeches at intelligence seminars.
Was Steele’s real source for much of his dossier actually Trubnikov and Surkov? If this turns out to be the case, it will mean Steele deliberately lied to federal agents. Which would not be inconsequential, since the false information he gave the FBI ended up being used to obtain a warrant to spy on multiple American citizens.
And thanks to the Crossfire Hurricane team and the Mueller Special Counsel going after General Flynn for supposedly making false statements to FBI agents, we know what a serious crime it is to lie to federal officials, right?
That FISA warrant being based on fake information is such a serious matter that IG Horowitz investigated it for more than a year and a half before releasing his report. Then, US Attorney John Durham was tapped to investigate and is reported to be in the closing stages of his own year and a half long criminal probe.
Wherever Steele got his fake Trump/Russia collusion allegations from, it’s clear that he’s likely in an increasing amount of legal trouble.
Brian Cates entered the political arena in March 2012, following the death of Andrew Breitbart. He is currently a political columnist for The Epoch Times and UncoverDC. Brian is based in South Texas and is the author of: “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!”