GOP senators say intel officials are ‘concerned’ about declassifying FISA report footnotes
Chuck Ross on April 3, 2020
The Republican chairmen of two Senate committees are calling on Amb. Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, to declassify information contained in four footnotes in an inspector general’s report about FBI surveillance of Carter Page.
In a letter to Grenell on Thursday, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson said they have had “fruitful discussions” with the Justice Department over declassifying the footnotes, but that members of the intelligence community are resisting efforts to unmask the information.
“There are several sections of the footnotes that certain members of the Intelligence Community are concerned about declassifying,” they wrote Grenell, who previously served as ambassador to Germany.
“We request that you ensure that all the footnotes are declassified to the fullest extent possible so that the American people have a full understanding of what transpired during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
Grassley and Johnson, who chair the Senate Finance and Senate Homeland Security Committees, respectively, have not identified which footnotes they are interested in declassifying, but sources familiar with the matter have told The Daily Caller News Foundation that they deal with sections of the inspector general’s (IG) report regarding sources for Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose dossier the FBI used to investigate the Trump campaign.
The IG report said that the FBI made “significant” errors and omissions in four applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to conduct electronic surveillance against Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
FBI investigators cited unverified information from Steele in the warrant applications. They also failed to disclose exculpatory information regarding Page, and derogatory information regarding Steele.
According to the IG report, Steele’s primary source of information disputed many of the allegations contained in the ex-spy’s infamous dossier. The source, who has not been identified, told FBI agents and Justice Department attorneys in January 2017 that Steele misinterpreted or embellished information that ended up in the dossier.
The FBI’s errors were so egregious that the Justice Department has invalidated two of the four surveillance warrants.
Grassley and Johnson wrote to Attorney General William Barr on Jan. 28 requesting the declassification of the footnotes.
“This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation,” they wrote at the time.
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