“The newly released FISA applications also confirm a fourth significant fact: To obtain the surveillance warrant, the DOJ and FBI relied on unverified hearsay from sub-sources (i.e., Steele’s sources) of unknown reliability.
While the government may rely on unverified information provided by an informant who has a history of providing reliable information, to establish probable cause with evidence coming from a source of unknown reliability, the government must corroborate that information. The FISA applications make no mention of corroboration of the sub-sources’ claims concerning Page’s purported conversations with two Russian agents.
Further, the FISA applications reveal that the DOJ only established Steele’s reliability, not that of “sub-sources.” But as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy first highlighted in February 2018:
The only reliability that counts is the reliability of the factual informants, not of the investigator who purports to channel the informants. The judge wants to know why the court should believe the specific factual claims: Was the informant truly in a position to witness what is alleged, and if so, does the informant have a track record of providing verified information? The track record of the investigator who locates the sources is beside the point. A judge would need to know whether Steele’s sources were reliable, not whether Steele himself was reliable.
While we do not know what lay behind the redacted portions of the applications, it seems clear from the placement, context, size of the blackouts that the FBI did not include information in the application either establishing the sub-sources’ reliability or detailing any efforts to corroborate Page’s claimed collusion with the Russian agents.” (Read more: The Federalist, 7/23/2018) (Archive)