Civics: “The FBI’s “highly credible” source is now presented as a brazen liar, a boaster, a profiteer”

Kimberley Strassel:

It’s not as if Mr. Smirnov is alone. The FBI enabled the “dossier” hoax by swallowing a compilation of fabulist claims presented to it by “confidential human source” Christopher Steele. It was aware Mr. Steele was working for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, had evidence he was blabbing to the press, and had been presented with a pile of tabloid-like accusations, yet chose to forgo any vetting and instead present him to a court as a credible source. Mr. Steele’s nonsense—coming at a time FBI leadership fretted over a Donald Trump presidency—was nonsense the FBI wanted to hear.

Special counsel John Durham later filed charges against Igor Danchenko, one of Mr. Steele’s subsources, presenting powerful evidence that he lied to the FBI in 2017 interviews by fabricating sources and information. Yet a jury acquitted Mr. Danchenko after FBI agents testified that while they couldn’t verify his claims, never made him take a polygraph test, and feared he was lying, they nonetheless trusted him. Mr. Danchenko’s credibility—coming at a time when the FBI’s reputation risked further collapse—was a credibility the FBI found useful to back.