Durham Report: Senior FBI Officials ‘Displayed Serious Lack of Analytical Rigor’ in Trump-Russia Probe

Durham Report: Senior FBI Officials ‘Displayed Serious Lack of Analytical Rigor’ in Trump-Russia Probe
Special Counsel John Durham arrives at federal court in Washington on May 18, 2022. (Teng Chen/The Epoch Times)

Department of Justice Special Counsel John Durham’s long-awaited report concludes that the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane investigators did not and could not corroborate any of the substantive allegations contained in the [Steele Dossier] reporting” in part because senior FBI officials displayed a “serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received” from a source linked to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The bureau also failed to confirm the dossier core allegation because its author was unable “to produce corroboration for any of the reported allegations, even after being offered $1 million or more by the FBI for such corroboration.”

A copy of the Durham report was obtained and verified by The Epoch Times before its public release.

The report concludes an investigation begun with Durham’s appointment by then-Attorney General William Barr to conduct a preliminary review of matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign between former Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. That review soon became a criminal investigation of multiple aspects of the campaign, including especially the role of the FBI in investigating allegations of foreign interference through its Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

Durham was told to investigate “was there adequate predication for the FBI to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation from its inception on July 31, 2016, as a full counterintelligence and Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”),” as well as whether “the opening of Crossfire Hurricane as a full investigation on July 31, 2016, was consistent with how the FBI handled other intelligence it had received prior to July 31, 2016, concerning attempts by foreign interests to influence the Clinton and other campaigns?”

Christopher Steele
Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer in London where he has spoken to the media for the first time on March 7, 2017. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

In addition, Durham was tasked with determining if “the FBI properly considered other highly significant intelligence it received at virtually the same time as that used to predicate Crossfire Hurricane, but which related not to the Trump campaign, but rather to a purported Clinton campaign plan ‘to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services’ … If not, were any provable federal crimes committed in failing to do so?”

And Durham was to probe for evidence that any of “the actions of any FBI personnel or third parties relating to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation violated any federal criminal statutes, including the prohibition against making false statements to federal officials? If so, was that evidence sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”

Finally, Durham had to determine if “actions of the FBI or Department personnel in providing false or incomplete information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) violated any federal criminal statutes? If so, was there evidence sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”

At the center of that investigation was the infamous Steele Dossier, compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who was paid indirectly by the Clinton campaign to produce evidence of cooperation between elements of Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign.

The dossier claimed, according to the report, that “there was a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump] and Russian leadership. This was managed on the Trump side by the Republican candidate’s manager, Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy adviser Carter Page and others as intermediaries. The two sides had a mutual interest in defeating the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, whom [Russian Premier Vladimir] Putin feared and hated.”

Igor Danchenko outside the U.S. courthouse in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 11, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

But the Durham Report said not only was the FBI unable to corroborate the dossier’s core allegation, but—in addition—Steele’s primary source, a U.S.-based Russian national, Igor Danchenko, provided contradictory information for the dossier and to the FBI.

“Danchenko was unable to provide any corroborating evidence to support the Steele allegations, and further, described his interactions with his sub-sources as ‘rumor and speculation’ and conversations of a casual nature,” the report said.

“Significant parts of what Danchenko told the FBI were inconsistent with what Steele told the FBI during his prior interviews … At no time, however, was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) informed of these inconsistencies,” the report continued.

The failure of the FBI to inform the FISC about the inconsistencies was an element of numerous failures by the bureau to share important information with the court as it considered motions it received to authorize surveillance of Trump campaign officials during the 2016 campaign. Three of those motions were focused on Carter Page.

In addition, according to the report, the FBI told the FISC that Steele’s main source was based in Russia; the FBI neglected to correct that misinformation after it learned that “Danchenko for many years had lived in the Washington area. After learning that Danchenko continued to live in the Washington area and had not left except for domestic and foreign travel, the FBI never corrected this assertion in the three subsequent Page FISA renewal applications.”

Not only did the FBI fail to inform the FISC about Danchenko, Durham said “beginning in March 2017, the FBI engaged Danchenko as a Confidential Human Source (CHS) and began making regular financial payments to him for information, none of which corroborated Steele’s reporting.”

Based on those evidentiary datapoints and more, Durham concluded that “the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.

NTD Photo
Pages from the Durham report, a copy of which was obtained by The Epoch Times. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“As noted, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith committed a criminal offense by fabricating language in an email that was material to the FBI obtaining a FISA surveillance order. In other instances, FBI personnel working on that same FISA application displayed, at best, a cavalier attitude towards accuracy and completeness.

“FBI personnel also repeatedly disregarded important requirements when they continued to seek renewals of that FISA surveillance while acknowledging—both then and in hindsight—that they did not genuinely believe there was probable cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power, or knowingly helping another person in such activities. And certain personnel disregarded significant exculpatory information that should have prompted investigative restraint and re-examination.

“Our investigation also revealed that senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons and entities. This information in part triggered and sustained Crossfire Hurricane and contributed to the subsequent need for Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller’s investigation.

“In particular, there was significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s political opponents. The Department did not adequately examine or question these materials and the motivations of those providing them, even when at about the same time the Director of the FBI and others learned of significant and potentially contrary intelligence.”

From The Epoch Times