I bet there are some bung holes getting tight right about now.
Each also is dealing with an elephant that’s not just in the room but sitting uncomfortably in their laps. Christopher Steele’s dossier is clearly a Russian intelligence operation (“active measure” in IC-speak) that took advantage of a cooperative outreach by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
If these IC leaders didn’t recognize it as such, then it truly was amateur hour at the top. The more troubling scenario would be if each made a conscious decision to ignore the obvious Russian interference attempt and, instead, wring political value out of the dossier.
The American people shouldn’t feel badly if all this seems confusing. Even experienced counterintelligence investigators are scratching their heads. The former FBI general counsel to Comey, James Baker, added to the confusion last week with some lawyer language — that the FBI “took the dossier seriously, but not necessarily literally.” Say what?
IG Horowitz likely will take note of that statement as he finalizes his review of possible abuses by Comey and his team of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process. It seems doubtful that a FISA court judge would have granted an electronic surveillance order had he been told the FBI believed Page was acting as an agent of Russia — but not literally so.