[Ed. – With all the phone calls and texts flying around, there was either gross negligence on the FBI’s part not to just pull all this guy’s telecom records – or maybe they did, and we just haven’t heard about it yet. The famous anonymous “Source E” shouldn’t have been that hard to track down, if he and the PSS really spoke by phone in “June or July” 2016. And yes, I know some Internet sleuths believe they’ve ID’ed Igor Danchenko, a former Brookings researcher and now Eurasia specialist for a D.C. consulting firm, as the primary subsource. They’re probably right. At any rate: ever more likely that Steele was just a front man.]
Steele’s operation didn’t rely on great expertise, to judge from the Primary Subsource’s account. He described to the FBI the instructions Steele had given him sometime in the spring of 2016 regarding Paul Manafort: “Do you know [about] Manafort? Find out about Manafort’s dealings with Ukraine, his dealings with other countries, and any corrupt schemes.” The Primary Subsource admitted to the FBI “that he was ‘clueless’ about who Manafort was, and that this was a ‘strange task’ to have been given.”
The Primary Subsource said at first that maybe he had asked some of his friends in Russia – he didn’t have a network of sources, according to his lawyer, but instead just a “social circle.” And a boozy one at that: When the Primary Subsource would get together with his old friend Source 4, the two would drink heavily. But his social circle was no help with the Manafort question and so the Primary Subsource scrounged up a few old news clippings about Manafort and fed them back to Steele.
One day Steele told his lead contractor to get dirt on five individuals. By the time he got around to it, the Primary Subsource had forgotten two of the names, but seemed to recall Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. The Primary Subsource said he asked his special friend Source 3 if she knew any of them. At first she didn’t. But within minutes she seemed to recall having heard of Cohen, according to the FBI notes. Indeed, before long it came back to her that she had heard Cohen and three henchmen had gone to Prague to meet with Russians.