January 30, 2017 – Danchenko tells FBI the info he shared with Steele was “bar talk over beers”…then they classify it as “secret”

In Email Timeline Post-Election 2016, Email/Dossier Investigations, Featured Timeline Entries by Katie Weddington

Christopher Steele leaves the High Court in London following a hearing in the libel case brought against him by Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev, July 22, 2020. A key sub-source for material in the Steele dossier has been unmasked: Igor Danchenko, a Ukraine-born think-tank analyst. (Credit: Victoria Jones/PA/AP)

(…) Danchenko was another matter. The FBI first interviewed him in late January 2017 after he was identified as Steele’s subsource. His interview was documented on an electronic communication, or EC, an internal FBI communication, and not on an FD-302, which is used to document interviews of witnesses. Nor was it logged on a specific source report form. Since it was made under a proffer agreement with his attorney present — meaning nothing he said could be used directly against him in court — Danchenko must have believed he was in legal jeopardy. This would make him not a traditional source, and certainly not someone who would be promised confidentiality indefinitely. If he continued cooperating with the FBI after the initial interview, he would have been considered a cooperating witness. Yes, the FBI would try to protect his identity, but no promises would be made — and not forever.

Critics who claim that Attorney General William Barr has recklessly declassified this FBI electronic communication, putting Danchenko and other sources — and future source operations — in peril are wrong. Steele was a “non-U.S. Person,” and not an FBI source when he was de facto working for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to develop opposition research against Donald Trump. Steele subcontracted this work to Danchenko, also not a government agent or source, who, by his own admission during the FBI interview, provided what he categorized as “bar talk over beers” back to Steele. The fact that this kind of information in an FBI communication was classified as “secret” in the first place is unexplainable. How is bar talk by a collection of drinking friends a threat to the national security of the United States, the very description of what constitutes “secret” information?

The information that Danchenko provided was the last nail in the coffin of the Steele dossier, and it created a serious dilemma for the FBI. A substantial portion of the Russia collusion narrative, and all of the evidence used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, was no longer viable.” (Read more: The Hill, 8/01/2020)  (Archive)