by Julie Kelly
Remember Christopher Steele?
The author of the infamous 2016 “dossier” was an impeccably credentialed former British intelligence officer who, we were assured, had the goods on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. Nearly every major news and opinion outlet vouched for his reputation and reliable sources inside the Kremlin.
Steele frequently was described as an “ex-spy” in charge of a well-respected global consulting firm in London; he was alternatively a victim of Trump’s public taunts and a hero willing to risk his life and reputation to spare America the election of a Putin puppet.
Steele’s work was validated not only by the news media and Democratic politicians who described the dossier as “raw intelligence” but it also served as the key evidence in a FISA application sought by James Comey’s FBI to spy on a Trump campaign associate and, by extension, the Trump presidential campaign.
But it turned out the public profile of Christopher Steele was as credible as the series of memos bearing his name. Steele was a political operative, paid six figures by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee through a party-connected law firm.
It also turns out Steele was a longtime FBI source, a revelation confirmed by then-House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes’ February 2018 memo.
While Steele was being paid by the Clinton team and DNC in 2016, Comey’s FBI was paying the British citizen for his Trump-Russia collusion sleuthing. Further, Steele had easy access to the upper echelons of Barack Obama’s State Department, top staffers to both Republican and Democratic senators, and the C-suites of corporate newsrooms.
The central figure in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, a sting operation intended to discredit Trump’s presidential campaign and then sabotage his presidency, was an FBI asset and Democratic flack disguised as a respected international business consultant. His dossier was garbage, no evidence of collusion was found, and the FISA court later determined the FBI’s applications, which relied almost exclusively on it, were illegal.
The Steele saga is just one recent example why the Federal Bureau of Investigations does not deserve the benefit of the doubt when considering its potential involvement in the January 6 protest at the Capitol. In fact, the entire Russiagate scandal—whose high-level perpetrators remain unpunished to this day—should be a stark reminder of the extent to which the nation’s top law enforcement officials will go to take down anyone they perceive as political enemies.
Speculating that the FBI possibly infiltrated groups on the FBI’s naughty list then provoked criminal activity on January 6 is a “conspiracy theory,” according to pundits on the Left and putative Right. A carefully constructed exposé at Revolver News published last week and amplified by Tucker Carlson on Fox News is stoking outrage from the usual suspects.
Jim Acosta, a reporter at the cable network that perpetuated bullshit tales of Trump-Russia collusion for years, said Carlson deserved a “Bullshit Factory of the Month” award for suggesting several unindicted coconspirators are FBI operatives.
“Tucker Carlson takes a great leap of faith here when he says that FBI agents were involved, therefore they were operatives therefore they organized it,” one self-proclaimed expert told the New York Times. “There’s just no evidence of that.”
But the great leap of faith, of course, is to assume the FBI played no role in an event now used as a pretext to authorize government agencies, from the Justice Department to Homeland Security, to pursue Americans on the political Right. This especially includes people FBI Director Christopher Wray calls “domestic violent extremists,” code for Trump supporters. Every FBI field office, Wray brags, is involved in the nationwide manhunt to find and arrest anyone who participated in the January 6 protest, including those who did nothing more than allegedly trespass on public property.
If the past is prologue, there’s no reason to consider the FBI’s involvement a “conspiracy theory” rather than a solid likelihood. How many times have we been down this road over the past five years—assured that claims about the FBI’s malfeasance and abuse were “conspiracy theories” only later to learn they were true?
We were told the FBI did not use spies to infiltrate the Trump campaign. They did. We were told the FBI didn’t ambush and frame former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. They did.
We were told the FBI would not mislead the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They did. We were told the FBI wouldn’t doctor official reports or correspondence. They did. We were told the FBI would never use a sketchy Russian national to bolster the collusion case against Trump. They did.
Sadly, the FBI is one of the least trustworthy agencies in the federal government—and that’s saying a lot. The stench of Jim Comey’s deceitful reign has irrevocably tarnished the reputation of the FBI for tens of millions of Americans.
The similarities between Russiagate and the Capitol “attack” are becoming increasingly clear. The initial narrative about what happened that day has steadily crumbled over the past five months.
We were told Officer Brian Sicknick was killed in the line of duty. He wasn’t. In fact, the FBI itself changed its story a few times about its “investigation” into his death. Sicknick died of natural causes, not at the hands of fire extinguisher-wielding Trump supporters or as the result of a reaction to chemical spray.
We are told anywhere from five to seven people, including Sicknick, died as a result of the chaos that day. In fact, only one person, Ashli Babbitt, died by homicide that day. We were told it was an “armed” insurrection. It wasn’t. We were told rioters caused $30 million in damages to the Capitol building. They didn’t.
We were told Capitol Police didn’t let protesters into the building. They did.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s Justice Department, working in tandem with the FBI, is prosecuting roughly 500 Americans in connection with January 6, many for misdemeanors such as trespassing or disorderly conduct. Prosecutors continue to ask the court to keep defendants behind bars awaiting delayed trials; dozens languish in solitary confinement conditions in a D.C. jail.
For years, the FBI has made no secret of its contempt for Americans on the Right, particularly supporters of the president whom the agency attempted to destroy. Suspecting their integral role in what happened on January 6 isn’t conspiratorial; it’s essential.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of ‘Happy Hour podcast with Julie and Liz.’ She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “FBI Investigator” by Sgt. Audrey Hayes.