“Agent Of A Foreign Power”: In Historic First, DOJ Releases Carter Page FISA Application

The Department of Justice late Friday released via the FBI’s FOIA Vault a redacted copy of the Carter Page FISA warrant application which accuses him of being a Russian spy, as summarized by the New York Times – which obtained a copy of the materials through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The previously top-secret cache of documents is the first such release by the DOJ in the 40 years since the surveillance law was enacted, according to the Times

"Agent Of A Foreign Power": In Historic First, DOJ Releases Carter Page FISA Application

The application reads in part: 

Identity of the target The target of this application is Carter W. Page, a U.S. person, and an agent of a foreign power, described in detail below.”

The F.B.I. believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government,” the warrant application continues. 

A line was then redacted, and then it picked up with “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law. Mr. Page is a former foreign policy adviser to a candidate for U.S. president.” –NYT

In other words the FBI accused Page of being a Russian spy, an admission which will undoubtedly hurt Trump’s “witch hunt” narrative, while casting the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign as legitimate. Page would later be targeted by FBI informant Stefan Halper, who formed a relationship with Page and several other Trump aides as part of the Obama administration’s active counterintelligence operation on the Trump campaign. 

We know from the four-page Nunes Memo that the FBI’s primary evidence supporting the application was the unverified “Steele Dossier” (“Source1” in the FISA application) As reinforcement, it also included a Yahoo! News article written by Michael Isikoff, which used information fed by Steele (Isikoff was “stunned” to hear of this). The FBI has also been accused of failing to notify the FISA judge that the dossier was political in nature. 

To vouch for Steele himself – a former MI6 agent who the FBI fired after he made inappropriate admissions to the press – the agency wrote the following: 

“Not withstanding Source1’s reason for conducting the research into Candidate1’s ties to Russia, based on Source1’s previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source 1s reporting herein to be credible

While Congressional GOP have argued that this is evidence of malfeasance, House and Senate Democrats have argued that the FISA application also contained evidence unrelated to the dossier, and that the FISA judge was aware of its political nature. 

But Democrats noted that the application also contained evidence against Mr. Page unrelated to the dossier, and that it did tell the court that the research’s sponsor had the political motive of wanting to discredit Mr. Trump’s campaign. They argued that it was normal not to specifically name Americans and American organizations in such materials. –NYT

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