Special Counsel John Durham confirmed in a 306-page report released on Monday that Crossfire Hurricane investigators at the FBI hoped to keep sending Russian national and Steele dossier primary sub-source Igor Danchenko six-figure payments even after they learned he had lied to them.
The FBI brought Danchenko on as an official confidential human source (CHS) in March 2017 after he spent months working with Christopher Steele to fabricate dirt on 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump for the Clinton campaign.
Despite the fact that Danchenko was at the center of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011, “had previous contact with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers,” and “had also informed one Russian intelligence officer that he had interest in entering the Russian diplomatic service,” Danchenko was paid $220,000 to aid the agency as a CHS until October 2020.
While Danchenko was a CHS, he was not subject to congressional oversight due to policies regarding ongoing investigation and sources and methods. It was after Danchenko left the immunity of the FBI’s “national security” excuses that the spy agency began to worry about Durham’s investigation into the Russia-collusion hoax, which the special counsel found “neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of.”
In an apparent bid to buy Danchenko’s silence and avoid further scrutiny for its “flawed” decision to spy on the Trump campaign without corroborated evidence, the FBI proposed keeping Danchenko on the payroll with payments totaling $300,000 while Durham’s investigation was ongoing.
In 2021, Durham charged Danchenko with five counts of making false statements to the FBI. Despite hard evidence showing how Danchenko gamed the system, a Virginia jury acquitted him.
“It is extremely concerning that the FBI failed to deal with the prior unresolved counterespionage case on Danchenko. Given Danchenko’s known contacts with Russian intelligence officers and his documented prior pitch for classified information, the Crossfire Hurricane team’s failure to properly consider and address the espionage case prior to opening Danchenko as a CHS is difficult to explain, particularly given their awareness that Danchenko was the linchpin to the uncorroborated allegations contained in the Steele Reports,” Durham wrote.
Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson first pressed the FBI over its payments to Danchenko in September of 2022 but their demands for all records related to the taxpayer-funded payments to Danchenko appear to have been ignored.