Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s pick for a top Pentagon position has a history of promoting British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier that played a key role in the Trump-Russia collusion probe.
Biden said in a statement on Wednesday that if he wins the White House, Colin Kahl, who once served as deputy assistant to former President Barack Obama and as national security adviser to the former vice president, is his nominee for undersecretary of defense for policy.
Kahl, who now serves as co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and is a professor of political science at Stanford University, would “help lead the Department of Defense with integrity and resolve” and “safeguard the lives and interests of the American people,” Biden said.
“I know how hard the professionals in Policy work every day to keep America safe,” Kahl wrote in a tweet following Biden’s announcement. “I would be honored to lead this great organization and work with [Kathleen Hicks] and [Lloyd Austin] to strengthen DoD!”
Biden also announced he would nominate Kathleen Hicks for deputy defense secretary and earlier indicated Lloyd Austin as his pick for secretary of defense.
“Dr. Kathleen Hicks and Dr. Colin Kahl are public servants to their core—and they have spent their distinguished careers advancing the safety and security of our nation,” Austin said in a statement.
Kahl has drawn scrutiny for his statements on Twitter promoting the Steele dossier, a collection of allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign designed to sway the 2016 election. The document was produced by Steele under a contract from Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired in 2016 by Perkins Coie, which was, in turn, paid for the job by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The dossier played a key role in the FBI’s application for a surveillance warrant targeting former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued a report in 2019 (pdf) that criticized the Justice Department and the FBI for 17 “significant errors or omissions” in the process of applying for a wiretap of Page.
The FBI received a number of red flags regarding the Steele dossier, including that key claims in the document came from a person tied to Russian intelligence. Horowitz’ report also raised serious concerns about the dossier, noting that “the CIA viewed it as ‘internet rumor’” and that the FBI had “corroborated limited information in Steele’s election reporting, and most of that was publicly available information.” Horowitz also found that allegations made in the dossier that were relied on in the Carter Page surveillance warrant applications “remained uncorroborated and, in several instances, were inconsistent with information gathered by the Crossfire Hurricane team.”
Crossfire Hurricane was the code name for the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election, which morphed into former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of a criminal conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and Russia to swing the election. Mueller ultimately found insufficient evidence to establish that such a conspiracy took place.
Kahl, in a number of tweets in 2017, defended the dossier.
He spoke of an “intriguing thread on the Trump-Russia-Rosneft connection mentioned in the Steele dossier,” in a tweet on March 26, 2017.
“Last night, Trump’s twitter account channeled anxiety over #RussiaGate. Perhaps it’s b/c the dossier is panning out,” he wrote on March 28, 2017.
“Steele’s Trump-Russia Dossier holds up pretty well,” he wrote on Sept. 6, 2017.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a query by The Epoch Times asking whether it has any comments on or concerns about Kahl’s promotion of the discredited dossier.