The Justice Department on Saturday released 412 pages of top-secret documents related to surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The heavily redacted documents show an initial application in October 2016 and three renewal applications indicating that the FBI believed Page was “an agent of a foreign power.”
The FBI “believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government … to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law,” the FISA application read. “As discussed above, the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.” It also said the FBI believed that Page engaged in “clandestine intelligence activities.”
The Justice Department and FBI obtained the initial application on October 31, 2016, and the three additional FISAs in January, April, and June 2017.
The New York Times and other news outlets obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
For many months now, Republican lawmakers have claimed that the warrants were obtained by the FBI improperly. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo in February revealing that the Justice Department and FBI relied heavily on the unverified, Democrat-funded Steele dossier to obtain the warrant.
“Democrat Party hired the Perkins law firm. The Perkins law firm hired Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele…and then they hired Nelly Ohr, the wife of Bruce Ohr, to get the fake dossier from a political environment into the bloodstream of the intel. community,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) explained on February 2, 2018, the day the FISA abuse memo came out.
Apologists for the DOJ and FBI have argued that the dossier played only a minor part in the surveillance warrant applications.
The FISA applications released on Saturday, however, cite the dossier as the source for the first piece of evidence laying out the allegations against Page, The Daily Caller reported.
FBI represented to a federal judge that investigators knew for certain that Carter Page met w/ Igor Sechin and Diveykin. Except, the FISA app acknowledges this intel came from Steele dossier. And FBI has acknowledged dossier was not verifieid. https://t.co/7ZstgwlVOh pic.twitter.com/NDYvBIhXB0
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) July 21, 2018
That section cites information from “Source #1” who alleged that during a trip to Moscow in July 2016, Page met secretly with two sanctioned Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin, as part of a collusion scheme involving the Trump campaign.
The source appears to be Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier.
Steele also alleged in the dossier that Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to exchange information with Russian operatives. Page has vehemently denied the dossier’s allegations, and says he has never spoken to Manafort. He also says he has never met Sechin and Diveykin while denying that he is a Russian agent.
FBI officials have told Congress that investigators had not corroborated the dossier’s allegations when it was cited in the FISA applications. But the FISA application shows that the FBI and Justice Department believed Steele to be a “reliable” source. Steele has been compensated for other work by the FBI, and his intelligence has been used in other criminal proceedings, the FISA application says.
The FBI application also cited a Yahoo! article by Michael Isikoff that relied on tips from discredited dossier author Steele.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 22, 2018
When information appears to come from multiple independent sources but in reality comes from only one source, it’s known as “circular reporting” and is not considered a legitimate way to gather intelligence.
Bradley Moss, a national security attorney who filed one of the numerous lawsuits for the documents, was pleased with the transparency, telling The Daily Caller: “Now, with the actual documents in hand, not political spin written by lawmakers with agendas, the American public can make their own decision on whether anything was inappropriate about the surveillance of Carter Page.”
Page has long maintained his innocence, and even suggested back in February that he might sue the United States government in hopes that it would “start acting responsibly.”
He told The Daily Caller: “I’m having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above completely [sic] ignorance and/or insanity.”
Page will appear on CNN on Sunday to talk about the newly released documents:
Even more shocking than the civil rights abuses inherent in today's initial FISA abuse documents and its testament to @Comey & Co's very poor "legal" judgment is the complete ignorance it shows regarding Russia. Will discuss with @jaketapper on @CNNSotu: https://t.co/Oy5WlcYyE8
— Carter Page, Ph.D. (@carterwpage) July 21, 2018