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Declassified Horowitz Footnotes Show Obama Officials Knew Steele Dossier Was Russian Disinformation Designed To Target Trump

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Christopher Steele

Newly declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December FBI report reveals that senior Obama officials, including members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team knew the dossier compiled by a former British spy during the 2016 election was Russian disinformation to target President Donald Trump.

Further, the partially declassified footnotes reveal that those senior intelligence officials were aware of the disinformation when they included the dossier in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Communities Assessment (ICA).

As important, the footnotes reveal that there had been a request to validate information collected by British spy Christopher Steele as far back as 2015, and that there was concern among members of the FBI and intelligence community about his reliability. Those concerns were brushed aside by members of the Crossfire Hurricane team in their pursuit against the Trump campaign officials, according to sources who spoke to this reporter and the footnotes.

The explosive footnotes were partially declassified and made public Wednesday, after a lengthy review by the Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell’s office. Grenell sent the letter Wednesday releasing the documents to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and Sen. Ron Johnson, R- Wisconsin, both who requested the declassification.

“Having reviewed the matter, and having consulted the heads of the relevant Intelligence Community elements, I have declassified the enclosed footnotes.” Grenell consulted with DOJ Attorney General William Barr on the declassification of the documents.

Grassley and Johnson released a statement late Wednesday stating “as we can see from these now-declassified footnotes in the IG’s report, Russian intelligence was aware of the dossier before the FBI even began its investigation and the FBI had reports in hand that their central piece of evidence was most likely tainted with Russian disinformation.”

“Thanks to Attorney General Barr’s and Acting Director Grenell’s declassification of the footnotes, we know the FBI’s justification to target an American Citizen was riddled with significant flaws,” the Senator stated. “Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his team did what neither the FBI nor Special Counsel Mueller cared to do: examine and investigate corruption at the FBI, the sources of the Steele dossier, how it was disseminated, and reporting that it contained Russian disinformation.”

The Footnotes 

A U.S. Official familiar with the investigation into the FBI told this reporter that the footnotes “clearly show that the FBI team was or should have had been aware that the Russian Intelligence Services was trying to influence Steele’s reporting in the summer of 2016, and that there were some preferences for Hillary; and that this RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] sourced information being fed to Steele was designed to hurt Trump.”

The official noted these new revelations also “undermines the ICA on Russian Interference and the intent to help Trump. It undermines the FISA warrants and there should not have been a Mueller investigation.”

Russian’s Appeared To Have Preferred Clinton

The footnotes also reveal a startling fact that go against Brennan’s assessment that Russia was vying for Trump, when in fact, the Russians appeared to be hopeful of a Clinton presidency.

“The FBI received information in June, 2017 which revealed that, among other things, there were personal and business ties between the sub-source and Steele’s Primary Sub-source, contacts between the sub-source and an individual in the Russian Presidential Administration in June/July 2016 [redacted] and the sub source voicing strong support for candidate Clinton in the 2016 U.S. election. The Supervisory Intel Analyst told us that the FBI did not have a Section 702 vicarage on any other Steele sub-source.”

Steele’s Lies

The complete four pages of the partially redacted footnotes paint a clear picture of the alleged malfeasance committed by former FBI Director James Comey, former DNI James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who were all aware of the concerns regarding the information supplied by former British spy Christopher Steele in the dossier. Steele, who was hired by the private embattled research firm Fusion GPS, was paid for his work through the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. The FBI also paid for Steele’s work before ending its confidential source relationship with him but then used Obama DOJ Official Bruce Ohr as a go between to continue obtaining information from the former spy.

In footnote 205, for instance, payment documents show that Steele lied about not being a Confidential Human Source.

“During his time as an FBI CHS, Steele received a total of $95,000 from the FBI,” the footnote states. “We reviewed the FBI paperwork for those payments, each of which required Steele’s Signed acknowledgement. On each document, of which there were eight, was the caption ‘CHS payment’ and ‘CHS Payment Name.’ A signature page was missing for one of the payments.”

Footnote 350

In footnote 350, Horowitz describes the questionable Russian disinformation and the FBI’s reliance on the information to target the Trump campaign as an attempt to build a narrative that campaign officials colluded with Russia. Further, the timeline reveals that Comey, Brennan and Clapper were aware of the disinformation by Russian intelligence when they briefed then President-elect Trump in January, 2017 on the Steele dossier.

“[redacted] In addition to the information in Steele’s Delta file documenting Steele’s frequent contacts with representatives for multiple Russian oligarchs, we identified reporting the Crossfire Hurricane team received from [redacted] indicating the potential for Russian disinformation influencing Steele’ election reporting,” stated the partially declassified footnote 350. “A January 12, 2017 report relayed information from [redacted] outlining an inaccuracy in a limited subset of Steele’s reporting about the activities of Michael Cohen. The [redacted] stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.

A second report from the same [redacted] five days later stated that a person named in the limited subset of Steele’s reporting had denied representations in the reporting and the [redacted] assessed that the person’s denials were truthful. A USIC report dated February 27, 2017, contained information about an individual with reported connections to Trump and Russia who claimed that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s sexual activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS (Russian Intelligence Services) ‘infiltrate[ing] a source into the network’ of a  [redacted] who compiled a dossier of that individual on Trump’s activities. The [redacted] noted that it had no information indicating that the individual had special access to RIS activities or information,” according to the partially declassified footnote.

Looming Questions

Another concern regarding Steele’s unusual activity is found in footnote 210, which states “as we discuss in Chapter Six, members of the Crossfire Hurricane Team were unaware of Steele’s connections to Russian Oligarch 1.”

The question remains that “Steele’s unusual activity with 10 oligarch’s led the FBI to seek a validation review in 2015 but one was not started until 2017,” said the U.S. Official to this reporter. “Why not? Was Crossfire Hurricane aware of these concerns? Was the court made aware of these concerns? Didn’t the numerous notes about sub sources and sources having links or close ties to Russian intelligence…so why didn’t this set off alarm bells?”

More alarming, it’s clear, Supervisory Intelligence Agent Jonathan Moffa says in June 17, that he was not aware of reports that Russian Intelligence Services was aware of Steele’s election reporting and influence efforts.

“However, he should have been given the reporting by UCIS” which the U.S. Official says, goes back to summer 2016.

Footnote 342 makes it clear that “in late January, 2017, a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team received information [redacted] that RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] may have targeted Orbis.”

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Guatemala is investigating U.S. NGOs for child trafficking, seeks Texas AG collaboration

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Guatemala’s Attorney General is investigating ongoing criminal claims that a number of American tax payer funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating both inside and outside the United States are complicit  in the ongoing trafficking, abuse and disappearance of children from its nation, according to an official Guatemalan letter obtained by this investigative columnist.

The Guatemalan government is seeking full cooperation from the State of Texas, where the accusations of abuse have been reported, government officials told SaraACarter.com.

A letter from Guatemalan Attorney General María Consuelo Porras was sent to Attorney General Ken Paxton on Saturday. Porras asked Paxton for immediate assistance with investigations into recent criminal reports filed with Guatemala’s Public Ministry alleging that unaccompanied minor children and adolescents being trafficked into the U.S. from Guatemala have allegedly suffered sexual and physical abuse at facilities operated by U.S. tax payer funded NGOs.

The Biden Administration has granted tens of billions of dollars in U.S. tax payer money in the form of grants to NGOs working to house, feed, educate and provide resources to illegal migrants entering the country. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington D.C. documented the astonishing cost of an open border to American taxpayers.

Guatemalan Secretary General Angel Pineda with the Public Ministry spoke with  SaraACarter.com Sunday night. He said he is seeking collaboration from Paxton and the state of Texas in this ongoing criminal investigation.

“As a Prosecutor’s Office, Ministerio Publico of Guatemala, have received a criminal complaint that states some criminal actions, which we see with great concern,” Pineda told this investigative columnist.  “Due to the situation that is happening in Texas, regarding different forms of abuses of some Guatemalan children and adolescents, when the institution received that criminal complaint, the institution has started investigations, so it is necessary to work on this matter in an integral way.”

He added “that is why, I have been authorized to ask for the collaboration of prosecutor Paxton so we can work together and protect Guatemalan children, and have sent a letter in that matter. “

Texas Attorney General Paxton could not be reached immediately for comment.

According to sources, the allegations of abuse are currently under investigation and are focused on facilities contracted by NGOs that have been poorly managed, and or have allowed for the sexual assault and physical abuse of children from Guatemala. In other cases, the Guatemalan government is investigating NGOs, some of which are operating in Central America, that are aiding and abetting the child trafficking organizations by supplying the necessary resources to move the unaccompanied children to the United States border without guardians or parental supervision.

“These Guatemalan children have reportedly been placed in shelters and organizations throughout Texas under the guise of providing them with a family environment,” Porras states in the letter. “Disturbingly, there have been reports and documented situations of sexual abuse in these shelters, which is a huge violation of the rights and dignity of these children.”

“The State of Texas bears much of the responsibility for these lost children, who have been transferred to the border and processed migratory (through migration procedures)  in Texas apparently fully aware of this situation,”  the translated letter from Spanish to English states.

In her letter to Paxton, Porras goes on to say, “you know, deficiencies in security and diplomacy related to the border between the United States and Mexico have resulted in a significant increase in drug trafficking, but also a devastating emergence of human trafficking. In relation to the new complaint that has been filed with this institution, a horrifying pattern of the disappearance of children from Guatemala has been brought to our attention, and it has been reported to the Public Ministry that a complex network involving Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating within Guatemala, who collaborate with specific entities in the State of Texas, are implicated in the abuse of Guatemalan children when they are away from their parents and do not have someone to protect them.”

This isn’t the first time NGOs have come in the crosshairs of lawmakers for failing to abide by the law or for failing to protect those being trafficked. In February, Paxton announced that his office was suing the Annunciation House — a Catholic NGO that operates “several houses of hospitality” for migrants and refugees in El Paso, Texas; and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The NGO is an “entry point” for illegal immigrants being trafficked to the United States.

Paxton stated in February, “the chaos at the southern border has created an environment where NGOs, funded with taxpayer money from the Biden Administration, facilitate astonishing horrors including human smuggling. While the federal government perpetuates the lawlessness destroying this country, my office works day in and day out to hold these organizations responsible for worsening illegal immigration.”

In fact, this year the Office of Inspector General (OIG) began raising concerns about the Department of Health and Human Services placement and safety protocols regarding unaccompanied alien children (UACs).

Lawmakers in the United States highlighted the issues with the UAC program that is administered through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Within those reports, along with testimony from whistleblowers, numerous allegations of sexual abuse of children and misplaced children by HHS/ORR have surfaced.

Allegations of abuse often occur at contracted facilities according to those sources who testified before Congress. In fact,  even after lawmakers became aware that ORR lost the location of more than 85,000 children in the United States that had been placed into sponsors homes the situation still remains dire, according to sources.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics, suggest that the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) who arrived at the border has swelled from 33,239 in fiscal year 2020 to more than 146,000 in fiscal year 2021 and more than 152,000 in fiscal year 2022. That is roughly a 500 percent increase in the trafficking of unaccompanied children.

In February 2023, The New York Times published an expose on migrant children working brutal jobs across the country, many of which violate child labor laws. At the time the story was written, over 130,000 unaccompanied minors had entered the nation that fiscal year.

In April, 2023 the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security and Enforcement interviewed HHS whistleblower Tara Lee Rodas. At the time she was detailed with HHS at an Emergency Intake Site in Pomona, California, and told the committee “I thought I was going to help place children in loving homes.”

“Instead, I discovered that children are being trafficked through a sophisticated network that begins with recruiting in their home country, smuggled to the U.S. border, and ends when [Office of Refugee Resettlement] delivers a child to a sponsor — some sponsors are criminals and traffickers and members of Transnational Criminal Organizations,” she said. “Some sponsors view children as commodities and assets to be used for earning income — this is why we are witnessing an explosion of labor trafficking.”

In 2019, I interviewed Guatemalan Attorney General Porras in Guatemala. Her focus then was the ongoing crisis of child trafficking in the region and in her nation. She reiterated that the government of Guatemala’s first priority was its children.

And the increase in the flow of unaccompanied children is shocking. On one particular visit to Guatemala in 2018, with Chris Farrell from Judicial Watch, an investigative nonprofit in Washington D.C., we were briefed on the rescue of seven unaccompanied children under the age of 10 that were to be trafficked into the U.S. for nefarious purposes.  These children were rescued by the Guatemalan government from a trafficking organization operating within a large caravan of people that were were monitoring along the Guatemalan border.

“Our nation’s children are the main priority and many of these children are living in poverty and from regions where they have no resources to protect themselves from these predators,” Porras told me during an interview in Guatemala City.

She reiterated those same sentiments in her letter to Paxton, who is also opening his own investigations into the NGOs operating in the state of Texas.

The criminal complaints addressed in the letter allege that the “non-governmental organizations operating in Guatemala and the State of Texas that may be involved in child trafficking operations are “Save the Children,” “Changing the Way We Care,” the World Childhood Foundation, Arise, and La Unión del Pueblo Entero is concerning. What could be particularly alarming about these organizations is that some of them receive federal funds from American taxpayers. I have been informed that other non-governmental organizations operating in Guatemala and Texas could be accomplices to child trafficking, possibly supporting this trafficking and other issues with unaccompanied children and adolescents traveling, but they have proven unsuccessful in protecting children in Guatemala.”

The NGOs in this letter could not be reached immediately for comment with regard to the ongoing investigations. This column will be updated when and if they respond.

As for Guatemalan officials now investigating these claims, they told this reporter they will utilize all resources to target the traffickers and any NGOs aiding in the trafficking of children.

The letter to Paxton states that the investigation is to “protect the human rights and interests of the inhabitants of the Republic of Guatemala, will spare no effort and exhaust all necessary efforts to locate and criminally prosecute those responsible for this enormous tragedy. Be assured that the Attorney General and Chief of the Public Ministry of the Republic of Guatemala will zealously execute her legal mandate to eradicate this epidemic of child trafficking and to hold those who commit these crimes against humanity accountable.”

Porras asked that Paxton’s office contact Guatemalan officials to coordinate in the investigation.

You can follow Sara A Carter on X @SaraCarterDC and on Truth @SaraCarterOfficial

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