Citing a “high-level source,” Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul charged in a bombshell Twitter post late Wednesday that anti-Trump ex-CIA Director John Brennan “insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier” be included in a classified intelligence community report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections — a decision that ultimately lent credibility to the dossier and may have played a key role in fomenting unfounded fears of Russia collusion for two years.
Paul called on Brennan to testify under oath immediately, as Republicans continue to aggressively seek out the origins of the collusion narrative. Fox News had not independently verified Paul’s source, and Brennan has not replied to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Fox News is told Paul’s tweet specifically accused Brennan of pushing to incorporate the dossier into the January 2017 official intelligence community assessment (ICA) from the FBI, CIA, and NSA that Russia worked to interfere in the 2016 election.
However, the dossier is not referenced in the unclassified summary of the ICA report that has been publicly released. Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper previously testified that the dossier was not ultimately used in the ICA at all.
CNN reported on Jan. 12, 2017, based on anonymous sources, that intelligence officials briefed Trump on Jan. 6, 2017 with a “synopsis” of the contents of the dossier, which was written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele. Among the claims in the discredited dossier were that the Russian government had humiliating and compromising information concerning Trump.
Although the decision to brief Trump on the dossier and the intelligence community’s reliance on it, then-FBI Direct James Comey would later testify, was ostensibly intended to make Trump aware of potential blackmail risks, the unexplained and nearly immediate leak of the meeting legitimized the dossier’s significance and prompted a cascade of unfounded media-driven theories about what purportedly compromising information the Russian government may have on the president.
For example, Vanity Fair article alleged: “The fact that the nation’s top intelligence officials chose to present a summary version of the dossier…