Former British spy Christopher Steele, who is a central figure in the so-called “Spygate” scandal, broke his silence Tuesday to refute Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s findings of FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
Steele, who authored the uncorroborated “Russia dossier” FBI agents used as their sole piece of evidence to obtain surveillance warrants on 2016 Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, issued a statement via his Washington, D.C.-based attorneys.
Specifically, Steele — whose dossier was financed by Democrats — voiced his displeasure at the findings of Horowitz who said that the document was “central” to the FBI’s surveillance case, the Washington Times reported.
He rejected Horowitz’s finding that he was a “confidential human source,” or CHS, as listed by the FBI. Also, according to the statement, Steele said he was never given an opportunity to refute the Horowitz finding that he relied principally on gossip.
Steele also claimed that the FBI never admonished him not to speak to the media. In fact, he said, his financier — Fusion GPS — required him to brief reporters so his findings would appear before the 2016 election.
He also pushed back against the Horowitz report’s assertion that he pushed the narrative that the Trump Organization in New York maintained a secret direct computer server hook-up with Alfa, Russia’s largest commercial bank.
But his denial is contradicted by notes taken by Kathleen Kavalec, a deputy assistance secretary of state with whom he met in Washington in October 2016, the Times reported.
Steele was heavily criticized by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the IG report on Dec. 12.
“If you had spent 30 minutes looking at Christopher Steele, you would understand this guy is biased. He’s got an ax to grind. He’s on the payroll of the opposing party. Take anything he says with a grain of salt,” Graham said.