Kashyap Patel, Main Author of Secret Memo, Is No Stranger to Quarrels

Reporters last year outside the London offices of Orbis Business Intelligence, founded in part by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.

WASHINGTON — Kashyap Patel is a lawyer who has sometimes run afoul of the rules.

As a lawyer in Florida, Mr. Patel, 37, entered and then dropped out of a charity bachelor auction featuring some colleagues after a blogger pointed out that his license to practice in the state appeared out of date. In 2016, as a counterterrorism prosecutor for the Justice Department, he was berated by a federal judge who then issued an “Order on Ineptitude” directed at the entire agency. And over the summer, in a trip arranged outside official channels, he traveled to London, where he tried unsuccessfully to meet with Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier that purported to details links between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to multiple people with knowledge of the trip.

After less than a year as a Republican staff member on the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Patel has found himself in the middle of another controversy. According to congressional sources, he is the primary author of the politically charged memo, released on Friday by the committee chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, over the opposition of the F.B.I. and the intelligence community, that accuses federal officials of bias against President Trump.

Democrats, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff, the ranking minority member on the committee, were scathing in their criticism of both the report and the decision to release it to the public.

“The President’s decision to publicly release a misleading memo attacking DOJ & FBI is a transparent attempt to discredit these institutions and undermine Mueller’s probe,” Mr. Schiff said on Twitter on Friday, referring to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Damon Nelson, the committee’s staff director, said in an emailed statement that no single member was responsible for the memo and that its creation was a “team effort” that involved investigators who had access to source material.

“The clamor to identify ‘an author’ is indicative of an alarming trend by opponents of our investigation,” Mr. Nelson said, “which is to promote spurious allegations against committee embers and staff. They will not impact the committee’s focus and commitment to continue this investigation.”

But he praised Mr. Patel, saying, “We value Kash’s dedication and his contributions to the committee’s oversight efforts.”

Mr. Patel, who did not respond to a request for comment for this article, grew up in Garden City, N.Y., and graduated from the University of Richmond in 2002. He earned a certificate in international law from the University College London Faculty of Laws, according to his Facebook page, and graduated from Pace University’s law school in 2005.


He spent part of his career in the Miami area as a federal public defender in Florida before surprising his co-workers there by taking a job at the Justice Department in 2014, according to his Facebook profile.

In early 2016, during a court appearance in Houston, Mr. Patel found himself in the cross hairs of Judge Lynn N. Hughes of Federal District Court, who became incensed that Mr. Patel had used the internet credentials of another lawyer to give notice that he would be involved in a terrorism case, and then did not like how he was dressed.

“The last thing I need here, Mr. Patel,” the judge said, according to a transcript of the hearing, “is a bureaucrat who flies down here at great expense and causes trouble rather than actually is a productive member of the team.”

After working on counterterrorism cases at the Justice Department, Mr. Patel joined the Intelligence Committee last spring as a senior staff member, and has been at the forefront of Mr. Nunes’s inquiry into whether the F.B.I. and the Justice Department abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Over the summer, Mr. Nunes dispatched Mr. Patel and another member of the committee’s Republican staff to London, where they showed up unannounced at the offices of Mr. Steele, a former British intelligence official.

Told Mr. Steele was not there, Mr. Patel and Douglas E. Presley, a professional staff member, managed to track him down at the offices of his lawyers. There, they said they were seeking only to establish contact with Mr. Steele, but were rebuffed and left without meeting him, according to two people with knowledge of the encounter.

A senior official for the Republican majority on the Intelligence Committee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter, said the purpose of the visit had been to make contact with Mr. Steele’s lawyers, not Mr. Steele. Still, the visit was highly unusual and appeared to violate protocol, because they were trying to meet with Mr. Steele outside official channels.

Ordinarily, such a visit would be coordinated through lawyers, conducted with knowledge of the House Democrats, who were not informed and the American Embassy.

In the months since, Mr. Patel has apparently forged connections at the White House. In November, he posted a series of photos to Facebook of him and several friends wearing matching shirts at the White House bowling alley. “The Dons hit the lanes at 1600 Pennsylvania,” Mr. Patel wrote under the photos.

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