FBI releases heavily redacted documents on Steele contacts

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday released 71 pages of material documenting contacts with ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, confirming that he had been used as a "Confidential Human Source," and that the FBI terminated its relationship with him after Steele leaked information to the press about his dossier on President Donald Trump.

"CHS (Confidential Human Source) was used as a source for an online article," the FBI "Source Closing Communication" document states, then describing that the bureau would no longer work with Steele, because of the leaks.

"On November 1, 2016, CHS confirmed all of this to the handling agent," the document stated. "Additionally, handling agent advised that CHS was not to operate to obtain any intelligence on behalf of the FBI."

While Steele's name does not show up at any point in the documents released on Friday - the material released by the FBI Records vault was titled, "Records Between FBI and Christopher Steele Part 01 of 01."

Other than the first page, which laid out some of the reasons why officials "deem the individual not suitable for use" as a confidential informant, most of the material in the 71 pages released by the FBI was redacted.

At one point, the document shows that Steele was "notified of deactivation" as an FBI confidential source, and that his response was to have "acknowledged receipt and understanding" of the FBI decision.

After that first page - absolutely everything was redacted, including information on payments to Steele made by the FBI, and the dates on which those payments were made.

Because of the document redactions, it was not clear how long Steele and the FBI had a "Confidential Human Source" relationship.

You can download the document release on the FBI Records Vault site.

There are only a few clues here and there in most of the document about what the FBI relationship was with Steele - in one "Payment Request" form, the "Financial Justification" for paying him was described as "Operationally justified" - but no additional information was made public.

There was also one time in February of 2016, where an FBI document states that the bureau "verbally admonished" Steele - but there is no indication what the subject was of that rebuke.

At that time - February 2016 - Steele was working for Fusion GPS, but his work to dig up possible dirt on Mr. Trump was at that time being funded by Republican sources. It was only after the President captured the GOP primary race in 2016 that Democrats then contracted with Fusion GPS to continue Steele's work.

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