Veteran reporter Bob Woodward said Monday that the intelligence community’s reliance on the infamous Steele dossier “needs to be investigated” in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s failure to corroborate many of the document’s key claims.
Woodward told Fox News’s Chris Wallace that he was disturbed to learn that the CIA cited information included in the Clinton-funded dossier in a rough draft of their January 2017 intelligence-community assessment detailing Russian election-interference efforts.
“What I found out recently, which was really quite surprising, the dossier, which really has got a lot of garbage in it and Mueller found that to be the case, early in building the intelligence-community assessment on Russian interference, in an early draft, they actually put the dossier on page two in kind of a breakout box,” Woodward said.
“I think it was the CIA pushing this. Real intelligence experts looked at this and said ‘No, this is not intelligence, this is garbage,’ and they took it out,” he continued. “But in this process, the idea that they would include something like that in one of the great stellar intelligence assessments, as Mueller also found out, is highly questionable. Needs to be investigated.”
Congressional Republicans have long demanded answers from the Department of Justice regarding how heavily the CIA and FBI relied on the Steele dossier when deciding to launch a counter-intelligence investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Those lawmakers, led by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, are now focused on determining to what degree information from the dossier was used to justify the FBI’s application for a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump national-security adviser Carter Page.
Republicans have escalated their demands for transparency in the wake of the release of the Mueller report, which disproved a number of key claims included in the dossier, including the allegation that Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to meet with Russian hackers.
Attorney General William Barr told Congress earlier this month that he has formed a team within the Department of Justice to look into the origins of the counter-intelligence investigation, and mentioned the dossier specifically as a point of inquiry.