Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) revealed Sunday that the FBI has denied his requests to interview the two officials who interviewed Christopher Steele’s primary subsource.
“I made a request to interview the case agent and the intel analyst . . . and they’re denying me the ability to do that,” Graham said in an interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.
The two FBI agents, a case agent and an intelligence agent, interviewed Steele’s primary subsource three times in 2017. In the course of those interviews, the unidentified person “revealed potentially serious problems with Steele’s descriptions of information in his reports,” according to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
Graham explained that he wanted to know “did the case agent and the intel agent refuse to tell the system about exculpatory information? Does the fault lie with two or three people? Or was it a system out of control?”
Horowitz’s December report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation found that the Bureau knew in January 2017 that Steele’s allegations relating to the Trump campaign relied in part on disinformation produced by Russian intelligence, according to recently declassified footnotes.
One of the agents who took part in the initial interviews with Steele’s source is Stephen Somma, a counterintelligence investigator in the FBI’s New York field office. Horowitz said in his report that Somma — identified as “Case Agent 1” — was “primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions” in FISA applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In April, Graham asked the DOJ for records that “question the accuracy and reliability” of former British spy Christopher Steele’s sourcing, before announcing a number of hearings “regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation” that began with the testimony of former acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week.
Rosenstein told Graham that he would not have signed off on the warrant to spy on Page, had he known the issues with the underlying evidence at the time, and blamed the FBI for failing to follow protocols “to ensure that every fact was verified.”