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FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Circa learned it was the FBI director who wanted the dossier in the Russian hacking report


Circa has learned that FBI Director James Comey made the decision to include the two-page summary of an unverified, classified report produced by a former British spy -- turned investigator -- that suggested President-elect Donald Trump had been personally and financially compromised by the Russian government. 

Several U.S. officials, who spoke to Circa anonymously because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, said it was Comey’s decision to include the summary of the 32-page dossier into the annex of the main report compiled by the CIA, FBI and Director of National Intelligence regarding alleged Russian hacking in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

They noted that the highly sensitive and unverified report had already been leaked, and was being widely circulated among government officials and the media for several weeks.

FBI spokesperson Carol Cratty declined to comment on why the dossier was included in the annex, or if it was Comey who had issued the directive to include it in the report.

CIA officials also declined to comment on the classified report.

On Wednesday, however, (R) Sen. John McCain, confirmed in a press release numerous news reports that he had been given the dossier on Trump months ago.

McCain admitted sending the sensitive information to the FBI director saying, "upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue."

A former U.S. intelligence official, who spent more than 25 years working in Russia and counterterrorism told Circa there is “no doubt Russia continues these types of {hacking} operations.” 

The official, who continues to work in security matters, said that the Trump administration should be concerned about the politicization of U.S. intelligence agencies.

“I think American intelligence has become politicized to an extent I’ve never seen before, and the new administration needs to rectify this problem immediately,” the former intelligence official said. “I believe that any political allegations must be viewed with skepticism.”

Many media organizations, which also had access to the classified dossier, chose not to publish it as they were unable to verify the information it contained and were concerned about errors contained within the report.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Yet, despite the lack of evidence, BuzzFeed made an editorial decision to post the 32-page report in its entirety Tuesday after CNN first disclosed of its existence, and that Trump and President Obama had been briefed on its findings.

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith admitted that the dossier was riddled with holes, and that most of the information could not be verified.

In an email shared on Twitter, Smith wrote, “Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our reader. We have always erred on the side of publishing. In this case, the document was in wide circulation in the highest levels of American government and media."

BuzzFeed has been widely criticized for publishing the report.

Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday that, “it’s frankly outrageous and irresponsible." He added that BuzzFeed and CNN were “sad and pathetic” in their attempts to get clicks.

Spicer also called BuzzFeed a “left-wing blog” that was attempting to discredit the president-elect as he prepares to take the oath of office.  

Republican National Committee communications director and chief strategist Sean Spicer talks with reporters as he leaves Trump Tower, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump followed up by calling the unverified dossier’s findings “fake news” and “crap.” The president-elect also flatly denied the sexual and financial allegations made in the report, which he said had been paid for by desperate political opponents.

Follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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