Saturday, July 21, 2018

FBI Releases Carter Page FISA Warrant

On Saturday, the FBI released a heavily redacted version of the FISA warrant application for Donald Trump's former campaign advisor, Carter Page. President Trump and other Republicans had charged the FBI with illicit spying on members of the Trump campaign.
The document (available here), which is 412 pages, is heavily censored with entire pages blacked out. The application was from October 2016, but even the exact date was redacted.
”The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian Government, ” the application says and then continues after a redaction, “[to] undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in violation of criminal law.”
“Page has established relationships with Russian Government officials, including Russian intelligence officers,” the application states, but the evidence supporting these claims is censored.
”Source # 1” appears to be Christopher Steele, the author of the controversial Steele dossier. Republicans had alleged that the FBI did not disclose that the dossier was commissioned by Democrats as opposition research into Donald Trump.
In contrast to these claims, the application states, ”The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person [who hired Steele] was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate # 1’s [Trump's] campaign.”
”Notwithstanding Source # 1’s reason for conducting research into Candidate # 1’s ties to Russia,” the application says, based on Source # 1’s previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source # 1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source # 1’s reporting herein to be credible.”
The uncensored parts of the application detail the allegations from Steele that Page had been told by the Russian government there was ”kompromat” on Candidate # 2, Hillary Clinton. The application says that the kompromat could possibly be released to the Trump campaign.
The application also contains background material on Page’s prior connections to Russia and cites several media reports that detailed alleged meetings between Page and representatives of Vladimir Putin's government. There is a reference to a letter written by Page to then-FBI Director James Comey. In the letter, Page, who was fired from the Trump campaign in September 2016, denied wrongdoing and called the allegations against him ”completely false media reports.”
Nevertheless, the FBI said that there was ”probable cause to believe that Page [redacted] knowingly engage in clandestine intelligence activities (other than intelligence gathering activities)” for a foreign power.
The redacted application strikes a blow at Republican claims that the FBI did not disclose the political nature of the information from Christopher Steele to the FISA court judge who issued the warrant. Less clear is how much evidence the FBI already had against Page before the warrant was issued. The Steele dossier and news reports were previously known, but a large part of the application is still classified.
Carter Page has not yet been indicted by the Mueller investigation even though he was questioned extensively in June 2017. This raises the possibility that either the surveillance did not uncover any criminal acts by Page or that he has been cooperating with investigators.
Originally published on The Resurgent

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