It’s with the renewal applications, however, that the omissions start to get truly egregious:
• By January 2017, FBI had identified and independently interviewed Steele’s “primary sub-source,” the results of which should have provoked a serious reevaluation of the reliability of Steele’s reporting. The source gave accounts that conflicted with Steele’s reports in certain respects, or characterized information he’d passed on as little more than rumor and thirdhand gossip. The renewal application did mention that FBI had spoken with the source, but didn’t draw attention to points of contradiction, or the source’s own skepticism about the information he’d passed on to Steele.
• Though FBI had obtained evaluations of Steele’s reliability from former colleagues, some of which questioned his judgment, the renewal applications recapitulated the initial assessment of his credibility unaltered. Nor did they include a qualification from a formal FBI source validation report that, while Steele had provided some valuable information in the past, much of it had never been definitively corroborated.