Justice OIG Report: Carter Page was a US "Operational Contact" not a Russian Spy
UPDATED: FBI Withheld Information from FISA Court that Cast Doubt on Steele Memo
As I have repeatedly emphasized here and elsewhere during the past couple years, Carter Page was not a Russian agent - he was an operative for an agency of the U.S. intelligence community (likely the CIA) at the time he infiltrated the Trump Campaign, a fact that was not revealed to a federal judge in obtaining a series of FISA warrants beginning in October 2016 to wiretap him and members of the Trump Campaign and incoming Administration. See, e.g., https://caucus99percent.com/content/wsj-confirms-carter-page-was-coopera... see, also, https://progresspond.com/2017/06/23/heres-the-backstory-behind-russiagat...
The just released report of the Justice Department Office of Inspector General states on page viii: DOJ OIG Releases Report Review of Four FISA Applications ...
https://oig.justice.gov › press
As more fully described in Chapter Five, based
upon the information known to the FBI in October 2016,
the first application contained the following seven
significant inaccuracies and omissions:
1. Omitted information the FBI had obtained from
another U.S. government agency detailing its
prior relationship with Page, including that Page
had been approved as an "operational contact"
for the other agency from 2008 to 2013, and
that Page had provided information to the other
agency concerning his prior contacts with certain
Russian intelligence officers, one of which
overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA
Carter Page made statements to the the FBI, not revealed to the FISA Court, that "would have contradicted the notion that Page was conspiring with Russia."
[Update 1] At page 123, the Report further reveals that even after the fact that Page had a "consensual monitoring agreement" with another agency, the FBI nonetheless withheld this essential fact when it sought and obtained a total of four FISA warrants that eventually expired in July, 2017:
While FISA discussions were ongoing, on or about August 17, 2016, the
Crossfire Hurricane team received information from another U.S. government
agency relating to Page's prior relationship with that agency and prior contacts with
Russian intelligence officers about which the agency was aware. We found that,
although this information was highly relevant to the potential FISA application, the
Crossfire Hurricane team did not engage with the other agency regarding this
information until June 2017, just prior to the final Carter Page FISA renewal
application. 262 As we discuss later in this chapter, when Case Agent 1 was explicitly
asked in late September 2016 by the 01 Attorney assisting on the FISA application
about Page's prior relationship with this other agency, Case Agent 1 did not
accurately describe the nature and extent of the information the FBI received from
the other agency.
Also in August, while FISA discussions were ongoing, the Crossfire Hurricane
team conducted a consensually monitored meeting between an FBI CHS and Carter
Page in an attempt to obtain information from Page about links between the Donald
J. Trump for President Campaign and Russia. During the operation, which we
describe in greater detail below, Page made statements to the CHS that would
have, if true, contradicted the notion that Page was conspiring with Russia.
[Update 2] "Page also made statements that contradicted the Steele reporting received by the [FBI Crossfire Hurricane] team in September, in particular the assertion that Manafort was using Page as an intermediary with Russia." [pp. 123-24]
On September 21, the OGC attorneys met with the 01 Unit Chief and
described the reporting from Steele concerning Carter Page that the team had
recently received. According to notes of the meeting, the OGC Attorney and OGC
Unit Chief told the 01 Unit Chief about the allegations contained in the Steele
reporting that Page had a secret meeting with a high-level Russian official in July
2016, that Page may have received a Russian dossier on Hillary Clinton, and that
there was a "well-developed conspiracy" between associates of the Trump
campaign and Russian leadership being managed, in part, by Carter Page. The 01
Unit Chief told us that he recalled that the Steele reporting was "what kind of
pushed it over the line" in terms of the FBI being ready to pursue FISA authority
targeting Page. He recalled thinking that if the information bears out during the
drafting process, there would probably be sufficient information to support a FISA
application targeting Page. Conversely, he said that without the Steele reporting
concerning Page, he would not have thought they could establish probable cause
based on the other information the FBI presented at that time (Page's historical
contacts with Russia).
The FISA request form drew almost entirely from Steele's reporting in
describing the factual basis to establish probable cause to believe that Page was an
agent of a foreign power, including the secret meeting between Carter Page and
Divyekin alleged in Steele's Report 94 and the role of Page as an intermediary
between Russia and the Trump campaign's then manager, Paul Manafort, in the
"well-developed conspiracy" alleged in Steele's Report 95.[p. 126]
These omissions and falsehoods contained in the FBI's FISA warrant applications substantially taints the legal basis for electronic surveillance and undermines the legality of the Russiagate investigation. The report also shows that while the Bureau's Crossfire Hurricane investigators knew that Page had contradicted the Steele Memo's allegations about Manafort, this was omitted from the warrant application.
[UPDATE 3]Here's the backstory that nobody else is mentioning: the FBI had in fact been wiretapping Manafort since 2014 because of his interference with the CIA's regime change operations in the Ukraine, but surveillance was pulled when he was appointed Trump's Campaign Manager. Because of this "gap" in coverage, FISA authorization had to be obtained for someone else. Page was infiltrated into the Campaign in March, and a FISA application was deemed urgent. Granted in October, it allowed the NSC staff access to everyone "two hops removed" from Page (virtually the entire Trump Campaign and afterwards, the incoming Administration). That warrant application was deemed so important, it was sought at any cost, even by falsifying the warrant application. At least, that's my conclusion. It will be spun otherwise, as the report pins blame on lowly FBI Case Agent and a Justice Department attorney. More Updates as details emerge from the 484 page report released this afternoon as time is found to digest them.