In an unprecedented move, the Department of Justice has released 412 pages of top-secret documents related to surveillance conducted against former Trump campaign chairman Carter Page.
The documents include an October 2016 application and three renewal applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants taken out against Page.
The New York Times and other news outlets obtained the applications through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government,” reads the FISA application.
“As discussed above, the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” reads the initial FISA application, dated Oct. 21, 2016. The Justice Department and FBI obtained three additional FISAs in January, April and June 2017.
The application also says that the FBI had probable cause to believe that Page engaged in “clandestine intelligence activities” and is an agent of a foreign power.
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….
And a clarification of the amount redacted of the released pages, LAW & CRIME:
…The warrant authorized surveillance of Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
National Security Attorney Bradley P. Moss, who pressed President Trump to make the documents public, told Law&Crime Saturday that he was not surprised to see so much of the document blacked out. The Department of Justice “was very cagey in their statements to the court about how the release would work… [t]hey clearly narrowed this only to the exact verbiage of what was disclosed by way of the Nunes/Schiff Memoranda, as well as any other open source information. Anything that was Government information was withheld as classified.”
Moss said that he “saw this coming 4 months ago,” which is why he and others “asked the President to intervene.”
“Whatever is in those redacted portions must have been good,” he added…
…The infamous “anti-Trump dossier” written by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele is the first piece of evidence against Page cited in the warrant. FBI officials have said they did not corroborate most of the dossier, nor did the FISA warrant request heavily rely on the unverified intelligence. However, the FISA warrant revealed the FBI believed the dossier to be “reliable.” They also used it to allege the meeting between Page and Diveykin.
The warrant against Page was renewed three times: in January 2017, April 2017, and June 2017. It ultimately expired in September 2017.
The unredacted portions of the original application and the three renewal applications are otherwise largely identical, so it is not visible whether the F.B.I. told the court that it was gaining useful intelligence from the wiretap of Mr. Page as it asked for extensions. But the length of the applications grew significantly each time, indicating that new information was being added: They were 66 pages, 79 pages, 91 pages and 101 pages, respectively.
The materials also revealed which Federal District Court judges signed off on the wiretapping of Mr. Page: Judges Rosemary Collyer, Michael Mosman, Anne C. Conway and Raymond J. Dearie. All were appointed by Republican presidents….
Remember, Comey, Yates, McCabe, and Rosenstein all signed off on misleading FISA extension of the Carter-Page spying [read here Trump] operation.