Other potential conflicts of interest became apparent when senators Grassley and Graham asked the FBI for permission to release the Steele criminal referral last month. Grassley says the FBI stonewalled — then claimed that unclassified information was actually classified and said it could not be released. Unlike the House of Representatives, which has processes allowing members to release formerly classified material without FBI approval, the Senate requires the FBI’s permission. That’s why the documents released today still contain significant blacked out or redacted portions. The FBI’s explanation for that is also partly redacted. FBI Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs Gregory Bower stated “the FBI cannot and will not weaken its commitment to protecting [redacted]. Public reporting about [redacted] does not affect the FBI’s policy with respect to classification [redacted] nor does it diminish our obligations [redacted].”
In the same letter, Grassley and Graham say that Steele, penned a separate memo on then-candidate Donald Trump, based on information given to him by a Hillary Clinton contact and unnamed Obama State Department official.
According to the referral, Steele wrote the additional memo based on anti-Trump information that originated with a foreign source. In a convoluted scheme outlined in the referral, the foreign source gave the information to an unnamed associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton, who then gave the information to an unnamed official in the Obama State Department, who then gave the information to Steele. Steele wrote a report based on the information, but the redacted version of the referral does not say what Steele did with the report after that.
Grassley also stated:
“Seeking transparency and cooperation should not be this challenging. The government should not be blotting out information that it admits isn’t secret, and it should not take dramatic steps by Congress and the White House to get answers that the American people are demanding. There are still many questions that can only be answered by complete transparency. That means declassifying as much of the underlying documents as possible.”
Steele, who was tasked with compiling the ‘Trump dossier’ for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, recently admitted in court that the discredited document contains “limited intelligence.”
Steele also admitted part of “his final December memo,” was unvetted.
“Such intelligence was not actively sought; it was merely received,” Steele added.
According to the New York Post’s Paul Sperry, the Senate Judiciary Committee is working to declassify intel on Steele.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee also has a memo on Steele, the dossier and the FBI, and is working to get it declassified,” tweeted Sperry last week.
BREAKING: The Senate Judiciary Committee also has a memo on Steele, the dossier and the FBI, and is working to get it declassified.
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) February 2, 2018