Former FBI Director James Comey on Friday, Sept. 25, declined to talk about Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier after it was revealed that Steele’s primary source was the subject of an earlier counterintelligence investigation by the bureau.
Comey was asked about the new developments during an interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper but refused to get into it before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, reported the Washington Examiner.
“I haven’t read what they put out,” he said. “I’ll read it before I testify next week, and I’ll answer whatever questions they have.”
The FBI had heavily relied on Steele’s unverified dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to secure Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The Crossfire Hurricane team—the code name of the Russia investigation undertaken by the FBI in 2016 and 2017—was aware as early as December 2016 that the dossier’s primary sub-source was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from May 2009 to March 2011. The bureau indicated in 2009 that this person “may be a threat to national security,” the records disclosed on Thursday show.
The source was not a current or former Russian official. He was a non-Russian based contract employee of Steele’s firm. He told the FBI in interviews in January and March of 2017 that the Steel dossier’s information was unreliable, according to the Senate committee, reported Fox News.
Newly disclosed internal FBI notes showed that Comey’s FBI agents purchased liability insurance to protect themselves less than two weeks before Trump was inaugurated as president.
Comey, who was fired by President Trump in May 2016, defended the FBI counterintelligence investigation into ties between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia.
He told Tapper that the investigation “was begun based on information having nothing to do with this Steele dossier.
Setting aside the merits of the Steele dossier, which are important to debate, this was based on credible information unconnected to that material and we should’ve been fired if we didn’t investigate.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced earlier this month that Comey would be testifying before the committee, saying, “The day of reckoning is upon us when it comes to Crossfire Hurricane.”
“Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 30, without a subpoena. I appreciate Mr. Comey coming before the committee. He will be respectfully treated, but asked hard questions.
I look forward to this hearing. I think it will be important to the American people,” Graham said.