As Winer tells it, he and Steele were old pals. They met and became friends in 2009, when both were in the business of selling business intelligence, much of it involving Russia. Winer went back to work at State in 2013, after his old Capitol Hill boss, John Kerry, had become secretary of State. But he didnt lose track of his friend Steelenot at all. He shared, and shared, and shared Steeles corporate intelligence work with the State Departments Russia desk. Over the next two years, I shared more than 100 of Steeles reports with the Russia experts at the State Department, who continued to find them useful. (Lets not speculate about how much it may have been worth to Steele to be able to tell his clients that the materials they were paying for were being regularly consumed by policy-makers in Foggy Bottom.). . ."
Come the summer of 2016, Steeles prime client was the campaign of Hillary Clinton, by way of the hired-guns at Fusion GPS, for whom he was assembling a grab bag of Trump tales from some sort of Russian sources. Come the fall Steele was spreading dossier info to various news organizations, the FBI, and the State Department. In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the dossier. Heres where it starts getting particularly weird: I was allowed to review, but not to keep, a copy of these reports to enable me to alert the State Department, Winer writes. I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with [Winers boss at State, Victoria] Nuland. I doubt Im the only one who finds this bit of peekaboo passing strange.
To hear Winer tell it, when he gave her his memo, Nuland was all for the State Department doing something about it: She indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of State needed to be made aware of this material. Maybe. But to hear Nuland tell it, she recognized the dossier for what it was: What I did was say that this is about U.S. politics, and not the work ofnot the business of the State Department, Nuland said in an interview with Politico, and certainly not the business of a career employee who is subject to the Hatch Act, which requires that you stay out of politics. So, my advice to those who were interfacing with [Steele] was that he should get this information to the FBI, and that they could evaluate whether they thought it was credible.
But according to his piece in the Post, Winer had other people to share the Steele info with, too: In late September, I spoke with an old friend, Sidney Blumenthal. Given Blumenthals well-earned reputation as a Clinton hatchet-man, the words old friend, Sidney Blumenthal should be telling, if not alarming. So what was the nub of the conversation between these two old friends who just happen to have gotten together in the thick of a presidential campaign? Perhaps they were talking LibyaBlumenthal had been trying for some time to get federal contracts for work in Libya, and Winer was the special envoy to the war-wracked country. But no, they ended up talking about the dossier. You see, it just sort of came up naturally: Blumenthals emails had been hacked a few years before, and so While talking about that hacking, Blumenthal and I discussed Steeles report. Youd think that Sid would have been gob-smacked, astonished at the information sleuthing spook Steele had unearthed. Instead, and ever so matter-of-factly, Blumenthal pulled out a dossier of his own: He showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know, Cody Shearer, that alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature.
Thats right, Blumenthal had a dossier of his own, compiled by a Clinton crony of decades standing, Cody Shearer, and right at the ready. What are the odds?. . .
Winer seems not to have been at all astonished that two of his old friendsSteele and Blumenthalthemselves unacquainted, should each independently and of their own volition have presented him with the same bombshell material. Winer did not, so far as we know, look around for Allen Funt. No, instead he shared the Shearer memo with Steele, who in turn passed it along to the FBI. Do you think anyone bothered to mention to the Bureau, at the time, the peculiar circumstances and provenance of the notes, most notably that they had come from a source as compromised as Cody Shearer? Well, it never occurred to Winer, because he did not expect them to be shared with anyone in the U.S. government.
NEW YORK Jonathan M. Winer, the Obama State Department official who acknowledged regularly interfacing and exchanging information with the author of the largely discredited 35-page anti-Trump dossier, headed a firm that helped the company owned by the United Arab Emirates government in its controversial failed bid to take over some terminal operations at major American ports.