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Before we head into #impeachment, here's a quick revisiting of the Steele Dossier. None of you will like it. And remember, I was among those who said it should not have been public. (I am leaving aside whether the FBI should have relied on any it. That's Horowitz's call.) /1
You call a spook to get oppo, you get what spooks produce: a harvesting of everything they can find, public and private, true or false. Raw product includes things like "A guy overheard at a cocktail party at Embassy X said this after three Manhattans." That's a spook's job. /2
It will also include stuff that the spook knows - and that experienced analysts know - was put there by the bad guys as disinfo. This is actually useful: It tells you what the bad guys know about your search, and it gives you some insight into how they'd rather mislead you. /3
Normally, a file like this gets sent to analysts, who then go into multiple modes of verification: Internal review, asking for more from the field, checking against stuff known from other sources (including stuff the field might not have), putting out calls to other sources. /4
No one would take such a file, and say: "Well, if this here spook wrote it, it's true." Steele himself knew much of it wasn't true, but it's not the collector's job to weed that out. Collection and analysis are different. (In oppo firms, they're too close, but that's the biz.) /5
But Steele had heard enough to want to alert U.S. authorities. Because even if he couldn't verify each story, he'd heard enough to make him worried. (That's kind of like the "chatter" issue before terrorism. Not exact analogy, but too much info at all is a sign.) /6
Steele could tell that Trump and his coterie were jungled up with the Russians. Which parts he could prove, and which he couldn't, were less important than the realization that the Russians and the candidate were way, way too close. Dangerously so. /7
Put another way, think of how people are investigated for clearances. If you're in hock, have lots of creepy associates, and people who shouldn't know you personally have stories about you - even if some of them are off the wall - it's going to jam up that clearance. Rightly. /8
Steele pushed the panic button on Trump because only an idiot *wouldn't* have done so. Personally, I think the FBI would have been nuts not to move on it. And as Mueller noted, there was no proof of a conspiracy, but plenty of evidence of intentional and desired collusion. /9
It was wrong of Buzzfeed to publish the file. If you've ever been investigated for anything, you have a similar file, full of stuff that might or might not be true. Shouldn't be public. But USG takes a "whole person" approach to investigations, and so did Steele. Rightly. /10
And it was way wrong of Maddow to play Nancy Drew with the file, because she has no background in either intelligence or Russian affairs. She did her usual thing of jacking up her audience to think they were uncovering SPECTRE or something, and I said so at the time. /11
But in the end, the reality is that the entire Trump circle, including the President, is far too connected to Russia, and imo, compromised by Russian intelligence (mostly through knowledge of Trump's finances.) I said that over a year ago here:
This is a level of Russian infestation that - in a better time in our country - would never have been tolerated. The GOP has used the dumbassery around the Steele file to wear us down and eat what's left of the patriotism of a lot of people. Shame on them - and shame on us. /13
None of these tweets - duh - represent the view of the U.S. government. They are my view that Steele did the right thing, but that we have become a country tolerant of traitorous, scummy conduct on the part of an entire political party.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. /14x
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