How did the FBI and DoJ know the Steele dossier was garbage? Because they couldn’t substantiate any of its key claims and because they interviewed Steele’s most important source. This “subsource” told them unambiguously that the scandalous claims in the dossier were based on his own statements to Steele but that they were exaggerated and distorted in the dossier. The subsource told the FBI that Steele’s misleading, unverified claims were simply rumors and “bar talk.” Again, the FBI had this damning evidence in hand before it renewed the FISA applications on Carter Page. (It should have had them before the first application, but it didn’t bother.) Again, it lied to the FISA court.
These are serious crimes, not only against Carter Page but against the true target of the spying, Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency — and ultimately against the American people. Those who committed the crimes must be held to account. The rule of law must apply to government officials, not just the unwashed masses. In addition, we need to restore confidence in our counterintelligence tools, which are essential for national security. Secret warrants for surveillance are meant to be used only against America’s foreign enemies. Voters will support that, but only if they are convinced the tools won’t be turned on them by a surveillance state. Restoring that confidence requires additional safeguards and accountability for those who ignored the laws and rules already in place.