FBI Sought Dossier Contributor as Source Before Interviewing Him: Document

FBI Sought Dossier Contributor as Source Before Interviewing Him: Document
Russian analyst Igor Danchenko (R) arrives to court with a lawyer in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 11, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
John Haughey
Zachary Stieber

Even before the FBI interviewed Igor Danchenko over three days in late January 2017, the agency wanted to enroll the suspected primary sub-source of the discredited dossier authored by ex-British spy Christopher Steele as a confidential source, according to a document.

The document was listed as an exhibit for Danchenko's trial by his defense but never was formally entered into evidence.

The date and description showed the FBI was recruiting the Russian national to be a source shortly after—or even as—he was working with Steele as a business intelligence analyst for London-based Orbis, Steele's company, and collecting—by his own admission—80 percent of the raw material that appeared in the dossier.

That revelation, which wasn't directly addressed during Danchenko’s five-day trial before U.S. Eastern District of Virginia Judge Anthony Trenga in Alexandria, Virginia, was first noticed by internet sleuth "walkafyre," author of The MYE [Mid-year Exam] Files.

The description for Defense Exhibit No. 402 shows the FBI filed a “plan to convert Danchenko into CHS” on Jan. 12, 2017, nearly two weeks before FBI personnel interviewed him for three days.

That same day—Jan. 12, 2017—that the FBI decided to convert Danchenko into a “confidential source,” Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced the Office of Inspector General was initiating “a review of allegations regarding certain actions by the DOJ and the FBI in advance of the 2016 election.”

In what was known as "Crossfire Hurricane," the FBI and DOJ investigated Donald Trump and his campaign's alleged links with Russia. The investigation was partly based on the dossier, which was funded by Trump rival Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.

Horowitz's probe was launched "in response to requests from numerous chairmen and ranking members of congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public” to determine if the agency’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and then Russian government was politically motivated and based on “improper considerations.”

It uncovered 17 "significant errors" in applications to spy on a single person, former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Further issues were later uncovered with other spy warrant applications.
Danchenko began being paid as an FBI confidential source in March 2017, a capacity he served in until October 2020, it was revealed ahead of his trial. He was dismissed after then-Attorney General William Barr in July 2020 released a redacted transcript of his early three-day interview with agents. The bureau decided to terminate Danchenko due to his identity becoming known, agents testified during the trial. He was paid nearly $220,000 by the bureau for his services during that 42-month period. He was acquitted on Oct. 18 of lying to the FBI.
John Haughey reports on public land use, natural resources, and energy policy for The Epoch Times. He has been a working journalist since 1978 with an extensive background in local government and state legislatures. He is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and a Navy veteran. He has reported for daily newspapers in California, Washington, Wyoming, New York, and Florida. You can reach John via email at [email protected]