Did the FBI defraud the FISA Court in 2013-14 and again in 2016-17?

* The Horowitz Report's forgotten FISA applications: Carter Page's Role as U.S. Informant appears to have been withheld from an earlier set of Warrant Applications.

The Attorney General Inspector General's report confirmed yesterday that Page was a US intelligence source from 2008-13, and that information was withheld in 2016-17 warrant applications. We are now reminded that there were earlier FISA warrants issued for Page in 2013-14. That same information was apparently not revealed to the FISA Court in the earlier warrant applications, if Page was indeed then the target.

The first issue raised in Attorney General's IG Report released Monday concerns ommissions in the FBI FISA warrants to surveil Carter Page in 2016 and 2017. It is puzzling, therefore, that it somehow makes no reference to a set of earlier FISA warrants reportedly issued to surveil Page in 2013-2014. These earlier FISA warrants were first reported by CNN in 2017 and became a side issue in the Nunes Memo but, it seems, they were all but forgotten or have been intentionally ignored in the Horowitz report.

This raises serious questions about the completeness of the Horowitz report if the now unearthed news reports are accurate, we have also have to ask why major media that reported the earlier warrants aren't now publicly asking the same question.

CNN and the NYT and several other major outlets reported in 2017 and 2018 that FISA warrants were obtained for Page five years earlier to surveil suspected Russian espionage figures associated with Page. Several Congressmen were quoted to that effect in major media reports two years ago. Yet, in a seeming case of mass institutional amnesia, nobody in the corporate media now mentions the striking variance in the Attorney General's IG report from the public record.

This apparent gap in the Horowitz report is extremely troubling, given that alleged FBI misconduct in obtaining warrants for Page has become a core issue in questions about political bias in launching of the Russiagate investigation.

What is going on? Why aren't CNN and the New York Times and the others asking questions about the missing FISA warrants in the Horowitz report? There is a logical and obvious answer, but before we come to that, let's review the history of what has been reported about the earlier round of FISA applications.

On August 3, 2017, CNN made an important disclosure about FISA warrant applications that had been sought five years ago for Carter Page, who is now central to the controversy brewed up by the Horowitz report accusations of FBI lawbreaking in warrants sought in 2016-17 to wiretap the Trump Campaign and Administration. More than 18 months ago, the CNN article first revealed: https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/politics/mueller-investigation-russia-tru...

"Page had been the subject of a secret intelligence surveillance warrant since 2014, earlier than had been previously reported, US officials briefed on the probe told CNN.

When information emerged last summer suggesting that the Russians were attempting to cultivate Page as a way to gain an entrée into the Trump campaign, the FBI renewed its interest in him. Initially, FBI counterintelligence investigators saw the campaign as possible victims being targeted by Russian intelligence."

A follow-up published by Ryan Goodman in the July, 2018 JustSecurity Blog referenced that CNN article, detailed a number of related media references, and observed: https://www.justsecurity.org/59837/reports-carter-page-subject-fisa-warr...

"Carter Page came to the attention of the FBI long before he joined the Trump campaign, as the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets have reported. In 2013, Russian spies tried to recruit Page as an intelligence source, and Page passed documents to an agent of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service. In discussing the Oct. 2016 FISA warrant, the WSJ says, “It isn’t clear whether the department had previously requested a FISA warrant on Mr. Page.”

I have always recalled a nugget buried deep in a CNN report published in Aug. 4, 2017. The 61st paragraph of the report reads:

“Page had been the subject of a secret intelligence surveillance warrant since 2014, earlier than had been previously reported, US officials briefed on the probe told CNN.”

I long thought that CNN report was the only reference to such a warrant. But there’s more.

[Update: On Feb. 2, 2018, the New York Times’ annotation of the Nunes memo states, “In accusing the F.B.I. of omitting important information, this memo’s critics say the memo itself omits crucial context: other evidence that did not come from Mr. Steele, much of which remains classified. For example, it makes no note of the fact that Mr. Page attracted the F.B.I.’s interest in 2013, when agents came to believe that Russian spies were trying to recruit him. The F.B.I. obtained a FISA wiretap order then, as well, according to a person familiar with the matter” (emphasis added).]

On Feb. 2, 2018, FOX News’ Dana Perino said, “if Carter Page is under a FISA warrant starting in 2013. You have to go to the FISA court every 90 days in order to keep up that warrant. We don’t know if there was a lapse in the warrant between 2013 and 2015.”

In Feb. 4, 2018, TIME published a piece on Carter Page’s 2013 letter to an academic press declaring, “Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin.” The TIME story also said, “According to published reports, the FBI obtained a first FISA warrant to eavesdrop on Page’s electronic communications during 2013.” Note: that line in the TIME story linked to a Washington Post report, at least the current version of which does not say Page was subject to a 2013 FISA warrant.

On Feb. 4 2018, Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union stated, “In 2013, 2014, Carter Page was spied on by the FBI in a different FISA warrant.”

On Feb. 5, 2018, CNN’s Justice Correspondent, Jessica Schneider said, “In 2014, the FBI began surveilling Page’s communications under a FISA warrant.”).

In a piece published on Feb. 25, 2018, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) told World Net Daily. “The first warrant on Carter Page went back to 2013. He had been surveilled back then as a possible Russian agent. FBI had the evidence. That may have had some influence on the court.” (The WND is generally not a reliable source, but this news story included direct quotes from WND interviews with several congressional representatives.)

Finally, not as explicitly stated or clear cut but Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said in Feb. 2018, “The Nunes Memo specifically focuses on the most recent warrants for surveillance of Carter Page, who has reportedly been under watch for his potentially illicit relationship with the Russian government since 2013” (emphasis added).

If a FISA warrant was issued to surveil Page back in 2013 or 2014, it would add a meaningful piece to analyses of the FBI and courts’ actions in 2016 and 2017."

Indeed, it would be meaningful. Given that we are now told that reference to Page as an “operational contact” from 2008-2013 for an unnamed US Government intelligence agency was withheld from the four warrant applications filed during 2016-17, that would answer why the FBI would go to such extraordinary lengths to hide his role as a government informant in the earlier FISA applications.

Frankly, I am surprise that as of my last Google search this afternoon, this subject hasn't been raised anywhere but here.

I can only surmise, if this isn't a case of mass amnesia, that for various reasons, nobody wants to risk their career by being the first to raise the following question in major media. If one puts two and two together -- confirmation in the IG Report that Carter Page was a US intelligence agency operative from 2008-2013, and that fact was withheld and falsified in the warrant applications submitted to FISC Judges most recently two years ago -- doesn't it follow that the same information was withheld from the Court in the 2013-2014 FISA Court applications?

See, related reporting here: https://caucus99percent.com/content/impeachment-fruit-poisonous-tree

UPDATES AS THEY DEVELOP

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with your statement,

https://caucus99percent.com/content/impeachment-fruit-poisonous-tree

... The OIG report acknowledges, Carter Page was an “operational contact” from 2008-2013 for an unnamed US Government intelligence agency...

If Page had been referred to as an asset or an agent, those would have been familiar terms we could take clear meaning from. But “operational contact” isn't real clear. And "intelligence agency" isn't real clear either.

I am a person who sees the FBI and the intelligence agencies working for a list of private contractors in energy, finance, mercenary armies, weapons systems and the like. Not a huge list, exactly, but specific companies in competition with other companies, pipeline contractors against other pipeline contractors, for example. And I see these long-term ringers like Carter Page being used to dirty up people when it's useful to the client contractors. So Comey's clients against Manafort's clients, something like that. And when you're in power, when you've gone from being general counsel for Lockheed to being Director of the FBI, as Comey did, you didn't do it because you wanted to give back to your country, but because you could dirty up people like Manafort, crush all the contractors working in the interests of pro-Russian deals and smooth the way for pro-IMF deals.

So what I see is Carter Page being a long-term asset, for sure, traveling to conferences, wiretapping discussions, and destroying individuals working to do business outside the confines of the killer elite we call our government. But when the report describes him as an “operational contact,” I think they're being careful not to describe him as an asset. I think that means one can only show what he really is by showing what he has actually done, and for how long, and forget the labels.

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ppnortney's picture

@Linda Wood

Carter Page was a CIA asset. That's what I've heard in reports, and also that the FBI was well aware of this - had talked with his CIA handler - but failed to mention this connection to the FISA court.

I get the feeling there's an internecine battle going on between the various intelligence agencies, the State Department and so on. I'm pretty sure I've seen from authoritative sources that in Syria a group of jihadists funded by the CIA was fighting against a group of jihadists funded by the State Dept. I'm sure they don't care as long as the weapons sales continue and there are opportunities for unaccounted for $$$ to disappear who knows where.

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The smaller the mind the greater the conceit. --Aesop

snoopydawg's picture

@Linda Wood

but that wasn't mentioned to the FISA judge. I posted a tweet about it in the EBs. This is what that agent changed on the report that we learned about last week. Zero Hedges has some excellent coverage of this if you're interested. Might need to scroll through the site to find them all.

IIRC Durham is going to a grand jury with his information and has stated that it will be a criminal case. We'll see...

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“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

@Linda Wood noun in the specialized lexicon of intelligence agencies. You are correct, that the ordinary generic term for someone who provides information, knowingly or not, to a U.S. intelligence agency is referred to as a "source", while an active, witting cooperator is an agent, who may belong to a network ("asset") or who operates alone as a "singleton."

"Contact" is a term most often used by the FBI to refer to a person who was interviewed or otherwise provided information. One sees that term used in internal Bureau reports to refer to members of the public who provided information but weren't the target of an investigation. CIA uses "contact" generically to indicate someone who provides assistance or entre.

The term "operational" as used here appears to reference an ongoing intelligence or law enforcement field operation or program, rather than routine agency administration.

While we're at it, and before we return to Page, we might as well define organizational terminology referring to roles. The term "agents" varies by the organization (e.g., denotes officers of the FBI and Treasury Dept.), while CIA uses the term "officer" to denote its career intelligence employees. Officers who direct Agency operations are "managers", those who handle agents in the CIA clandestine service are "covert operators" or "agent handlers." The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) uses the term "agent handler". "Operative" is a technically outdated term used by the OSS, but is still used informally. Agent is always reserved for persons who have an operational role, either as a agent handler or as an asset. CIA and most other IC agencies refer to non-employee third-parties who provide services as "contractors."

The FBI uses the acronym U.C.E. (Undercover Employee), a specialized term, to designate a paid contractor who carries out undercover work but is who is not a sworn Special Agent of the Bureau. A related term, C.I. (Confidential Informant) may be paid or unpaid informant.

The public record indicates that Carter Page at various times worked for military intelligence, the CIA, the FBI, and the State Department. After graduation from Annapolis, Page was assigned to military Intelligence unit in the Mideast. He left Naval Intelligence, and pursued a PhD working for Merill Lynch in London, Moscow and finally in New York. While working abroad in Russia from 2008-2010, he would most likely have had contact with CIA (Page admits prior contact abroad with both CIA and DOS), while we already know he served as FBI "MALE-1" cooperating witness in the Polobnyy prosecution. There was a second related case in which he may have been referred in DOJ documents as "UCE-1". Here is how I previously reported that here in February 2018: https://caucus99percent.com/content/wsj-confirms-carter-page-was-coopera...

The Russian UN employee was charged with two others in 2015. There is an interesting section in the Justice Department press release that accompanied the March 11, 2016 conviction of one of the three Russians. Seemingly overlooked by everyone are what appear to be at least some intriguing suggestions that Page is not the unwitting Russian pawn he has been made out to be by most of the media, and was instead quite aware of his role in FBI operations: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/evgeny-buryakov-pleads-guilty-manha...

BURYAKOV worked in New York with at least two other SVR agents, Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy. From November 22, 2010, to November 21, 2014, Sporyshev officially served as a trade representative of the Russian Federation in New York. From December 13, 2012, to September 12, 2013, Podobnyy officially served as an attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. The investigation, however, showed that Sporyshev and Podobnyy also worked as officers of the SVR. For their roles in the charged conspiracy, Sporyshev and Podobnyy were charged along with BURYAKOV in January 2015. However, Sporyshev and Podbonyy no longer lived in the United States and thus were not arrested.

BURYAKOV’s Co-Conspirators Are Recorded Inside the SVR’s New York “Residentura”

During the course of the investigation, the FBI recorded Sporyshev and Podobnyy speaking inside the SVR’s offices in New York, known as the “Residentura.”

The FBI obtained the recordings after Sporyshev attempted to recruit an FBI undercover employee (“UCE-1”), who was posing as an analyst from a New York-based energy company. In response to requests from Sporyshev, UCE-1 provided Sporyshev with binders containing purported industry analysis written by UCE-1 and supporting documentation relating to UCE-1’s reports, as well as covertly placed recording devices. Sporyshev then took the binders to, among other places, the Residentura.

During subsequent recorded conversations, Sporyshev and Podobnyy discussed, among other things, Sporyshev’s SVR employment contract and his official cover position, their work as SVR officers, and the FBI’s July 2010 arrests of 10 SVR agents in the United States, known as the “Illegals.” [emphases added]

While there seem to be some remarkable coincidences, it is not known if Page is actually UCE-1 or, it seems more likely, the FBI used Page to introduce one of its own employees pretending to be a coworker in Page’s NYC-based energy trading company, who subsequently passed bugged binders to the Russians. Page was previously reported in court papers to have been identified as “MALE-1.” It’s all the more curious that Page should have two years later attached himself to the Trump campaign, and is now the central figure in “Russiagate.” Stranger still, that none of this has previously been remarked upon in any major media.

It's looking increasingly as if Page was both MALE-1 and UCE-1, testifying in both cases, and that he was indeed more than a casual FBI contact in the 2013-14 FISA applications. Put that together with his confirmed prior role as an "operational contact" for another U.S. agency, and it becomes clear that he was acting as a full-blown agent provocateur when he wormed into the Trump Campaign. The FISA warrants obtained for him were fraudulently obtained in so far as he was portrayed as a Russian agent. The evidence is convincing: he was, in fact, acting as a U.S. agent.

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@leveymg

I completely agree that Page is a long term intelligence military industrial asset. Your work in bringing all of this information to us is priceless. I just felt that the report's use of the word "contact" was meant to obscure his direct connection to U.S. intelligence.

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@Linda Wood @Linda Wood

U.S. Attorneys » Southern District of New York » News » Press Releases

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 11, 2016
Evgeny Buryakov Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Conspiracy To Work For Russian Intelligence
Evgeny BURYAKOV, a/k/a “Zhenya,” Worked for Russian Intelligence Under “Non-Official Cover” as a Banker in Manhattan

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced that EVGENY BURYAKOV, a/k/a “Zhenya,” pled guilty today to conspiring to act in the United States as an agent of the Russian Federation, without providing prior notice to the Attorney General.

[. . . ]
BURYAKOV’s Co-Conspirators Are Recorded Inside the SVR’s New York “Residentura”

During the course of the investigation, the FBI recorded Sporyshev and Podobnyy speaking inside the SVR’s offices in New York, known as the “Residentura.”

The FBI obtained the recordings after Sporyshev attempted to recruit an FBI undercover employee (“UCE-1”), who was posing as an analyst from a New York-based energy company. In response to requests from Sporyshev, UCE-1 provided Sporyshev with binders containing purported industry analysis written by UCE-1 and supporting documentation relating to UCE-1’s reports, as well as covertly placed recording devices. Sporyshev then took the binders to, among other places, the Residentura.

During subsequent recorded conversations, Sporyshev and Podobnyy discussed, among other things, Sporyshev’s SVR employment contract and his official cover position, their work as SVR officers, and the FBI’s July 2010 arrests of 10 SVR agents in the United States, known as the “Illegals.”

[ . . . ]

USAO - New York, Southern
Press Release Number:
16-053
Updated March 11, 2016

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/evgeny-buryakov-pleads-guilty-manha...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlrHP7pUYAACOHW.jpg

October 2016 FISA Application FBI Supporting Affidavit and Supporting Documents:
https://vault.fbi.gov/d1-release/d1-release/view

Buryakov et al FBI Criminal Complaint to Prosecuting Federal Magistrate in NY
[Note: "CS-1" (FBI Confidential Source - 1) has been identified as Felix Sater, a long-time FBI informant and Trump associate. Complain references CS-1's approach in August 2014 to Buryakov, a targeted SVR agent working undercover as a Banker for a Russian bank in NY, on behalf of an [unnamed] US casino development group with expressions of interest in opening casinos in Russia. [As pointed out elsewhere, on April 21, 2014, BBC reported draft Russian legislation had been introduced to expand the area in Crimea where legal casino gambling is permitted.] The FBI complaint states that during the meeting with Buryakov, CS-1 dangled a non-classified but internal Treasury Dept. list of Russians designated for sanctions].
https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachmen...

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snoopydawg's picture

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/12/the-fbi-pushed-by-john-brennan-lie...

Lots of links to follow. I like the way this one lays everything out. And it confirms that Page was working with the CIA at the time.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/can-we-impeach-the-fbi-...

Horowitz stated that there was no political bias, however that wasn't the case when Strzok was fired.

https://www.vox.com/2018/8/13/17683566/peter-strzok-fired-fbi-trump-russia

An inspector general report released in June harshly criticized Strzok and expressed concern about his potential bias, but found no evidence that his political views affected his investigative decisions.

Hmm..did we ever see the final report on the FBIs investigation into Hillary's emails? We only saw an unfinished report.

However, that report focused primarily on the Clinton investigation; the IG is reviewing the Trump-Russia probe separately, and that review is not yet completed.

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“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

And look at this gem.

Comey’s initial draft statement, which he shared with FBI senior leadership on May 2, criticized Clinton’s handling of classified information as “grossly negligent,” but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case based on the facts developed in the Midyear investigation. Over the course of the next 2 months, Comey’s draft statement underwent various language changes, including the following:

The description of Clinton’s handling of classified information was changed from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless;”

• A statement that the sheer volume of information classified as Secret supported an inference of gross negligence was removed and replaced with a statement that the classified information they discovered was “especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on servers not supported by full-time staff”;

• A statement that the FBI assessed that it was “reasonably likely” that hostile actors gained access to Clinton’s private email server was changed to “possible.” The statement also acknowledged that the FBI investigation and its forensic analysis did not find evidence that Clinton’s email server systems were compromised; and

• A paragraph summarizing the factors that led the FBI to assess that it was possible that hostile actors accessed Clinton’s server was added, and at one point referenced Clinton’s use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while in the territory of a foreign adversary. This reference later was changed to “another senior government official,” and ultimately was omitted.

Id love to have the time to read it, but then why bother since she got away with it?

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“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

Roy Blakeley's picture

If I did not know that the media are on the side of truth and justice, I might think that they were engaged in propaganda. Perish the thought.

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snoopydawg's picture

Statement from Lavrov on trying to clear Russia of election interference

"Let me remind you that at the time of the first statements on this topic, which was on the eve of the 2016 US presidential election, we used the communications channel that linked back then Moscow and the Obama administration in Washington to ask our US partners on numerous occasions whether these allegations that emerged in October 2016 and persisted until Donald Trump’s inauguration could be addressed. The reply never came. There was no response whatsoever to all our proposals when we said: look, if you suspect us, let’s sit down and talk, just put your facts on the table. All this continued after President Trump’s inauguration and the appointment of a new administration. We proposed releasing the correspondence through this closed communications channel for the period from October 2016 until January 2017 in order to dispel all this groundless suspicion. This would have clarified the situation for many. Unfortunately, this time it was the current administration that refused to do so. Let me reiterate that we are ready to disclose to the public the exchanges we had through this channel. I think that this would set many things straight. Nevertheless we expect the turbulence that appeared out of thin air to calm down little by little, just as McCarthyism waned in the 1950s, so that we can place our cooperation on a more constructive footing."

Lavrov on Mueller Report: "It contains no confirmation of any collusion." End of story. But we do have all this compiled evidence within our communications we're ready to publish is the USA
agrees.

More than once I have wondered if Trump was in on the Russia Gate scam. He seems to have committed some unforced errors at convenient times and so has his mouthpiece Rudy. I've often wondered why they would say or do something that just made them look bad. Trump has many ways to clear up what happened during the FBI's farce investigations, but didn't.

Obama let the birtherism nonsense go on for 3 years until he finally released his birth certificate. The right latched on to his not being an American just like we have latched on to first the investigation into Hillary's private email server and now trying to debunk Russia Gate. Just like others have latched on to Russia Russia Russia and Trump is bad. Both are great distractions from what congress is doing. However I don't think we have missed very much of what they have done.

Thoughts?

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“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

lotlizard's picture

@snoopydawg  

The system told me “Flock ewe” so I became one of these mountain goats:
http://www.viruscomix.com/page532.html

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when you've gone from being general counsel for Lockheed to being Director of the FBI, as Comey did,

So. No law enforcement background, heavy ties to a potential criminal organition, jumps over the career people.

I want to see career people whose pension is already in the bank, advanced to the top, not the current spoils system. If Comey had been a state prosecutor or head of the California Highwat Patrol, cheif of the Illinois State Police or something of that sort, it would be approptiate to make him head of FBI to give an outside perspective to a professional. But corporate counsel? Talk about the Fox guarding the henhouse.
Can you say "regulatory capture"? I knew you could.

This explains why he shitted all over the FBI's reputation for being non-political. His real job was to prevent investigation of MIC contract abuses.

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We are so screwed.

used in Horowitz's report? It's unfair for me to expect you to have read all of the report when I haven't. But do you have a sense that the report is implying Page is described in various ways, including as a "Confidential Human Source"?

The report referenced here is from November 2019, not the one being debated this week:

https://thefederalist.com/2019/11/20/doj-inspector-general-report-docume...

DOJ Inspector General Report Documents FBI Misuse Of Secret Sources
NOVEMBER 20, 2019 By Tristan Justice

The government watchdog of the Department of Justice released a report Tuesday that found “numerous issues” with the FBI’s handling of confidential sources.

The 63-page report covers 2012 to 2019, which includes the time-frame of the 2016 presidential election and former FBI Director James Comey’s entire tenure at the law enforcement agency. It indicted the FBI’s management of secret sources as noncompliant with attorney general guidelines.

“Ineffective management and oversight of confidential sources can result in jeopardizing FBI operations and placing FBI agents, sources, subjects of investigation, and the public in harms way,” said DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz in a two-minute video announcing the findings of the report.

... The confidential human source program is important to the FBI’s efforts to carry out its mission, the report says, and such sources are hired for a wide range of objectives in addition to counterintelligence.

The FBI used confidential human sources in its 2016 investigation of the Trump campaign to determine whether campaign staff were colluding with the Russian government. Yet the allegations of Russian collusion turned up to be a hoax following a two-year investigation with unlimited resources by a congressionally appointed special counsel.

... The Justice Department’s office of inspector general has offered the FBI 16 recommendations to fix the program and until then, has ordered the agency to place tighter restrictions on information related to the program to personnel with a need to know.

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