FBI releases Carter Page surveillance warrant documents

The FBI on Saturday released a...

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 2:40 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 2:40 PM

The FBI on Saturday released a redacted version of its previously classified foreign surveillance warrant application on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, which has been the subject of a heated partisan debate over the FBI's tactics investigating members of the Trump campaign.

The FBI released the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant application after news organizations and advocacy groups like Judicial Watch sued for its disclosure.

The warrant, which was approved for Page in 2016, allowed the FBI to conduct surveillance on Page. It's been one of the key moves that Republicans have charged is evidence of a pattern of abuse by the Justice Department and the FBI targeting the Trump campaign.

The release itself is significant as it marks the first public disclosure of a highly sensitive FISA request. Information included in the request had been largely reported through two declassified memos released separately by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, but Saturday's disclosure puts the FBI's own argument in black and white for the first time.

The more than 400-page document released Saturday, which includes the initial October 2016 FISA warrant on Page and three subsequent renewals, is heavily redacted.

It states that the FBI "believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government."

"The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government," the application states, adding that "there is probable cause that such activities involve or are about to involve violations of the criminal statutes of the United States."

The application says that a significant purpose of the request is to "collect foreign intelligence information as part of the FBI's investigation of this target."

It does have some information about Page's activities, which included a July 2016 trip to Russia in which Page was accused in the opposition research dossier of having met with a top Russian energy official, something Page denies.

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday, Page called the accusations against him "so ridiculous."

"You talk about misleading the courts, it's just so misleading," Page said.

The application notes that Page sent a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey to deny the accusation two days after a news story came out stating that Page was under investigation.

Signatures from top FBI and Justice Department officials, including Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appear on each of the four applications.

Page has denied that he ever cut any political deals with the Kremlin.

The FISA warrant that was issued and renewed multiple times for Page was the subject of the memo written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that charged the FBI abused its surveillance powers.

Conservative critics of special counsel Robert Mueller have argued that the FISA warrant is tainted - based on the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia that was paid for by Democrats - and that because the FISA warrant helped launch the FBI investigation into Trump and Russia, the whole investigation is tainted.

Democrats, however, say that the FISA warrant on Page was justified because of his contacts with Russia, and they argue that the FBI and Justice Department followed proper procedure in seeking and getting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to approve the warrant.

In a statement Saturday, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, said the applications "underscore the legitimate concern FBI had about Page's activities as it was investigating Russia's interference."

"These documents affirm that our nation faced a profound counterintelligence threat prior to the 2016 election, and the Department of Justice and FBI took appropriate steps to investigate whether any U.S. persons were acting as an agent of a foreign power," Schiff said.

The dispute over Page's FISA warrant has been previously fought in the form of dueling memos that Nunes and Schiff issued earlier this year.

Nunes' memo, which was cited by President Donald Trump in his attacks on the Mueller investigation, alleges that the author of the dossier, ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, harbored anti-Trump motivations that were not disclosed in the FISA application.

Worse, the memo alleges, the FISA court was not told that Steele's dossier was funded through a law firm by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Democrats responded with their own memo, which argued that the FBI's interest in Page predated the FBI's knowledge of the Steele dossier. It also argues that it was not the dossier and the Page FISA warrant that prompted the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Russia, but rather an earlier conversation that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had with an Australian diplomat about alleged Russian dirt on Clinton.

The material in a FISA warrant is considered highly classified, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court proceedings are also conducted in secret.

But after Nunes issued a subpoena to gain access to the documents, he used a House procedure to make public classified materials, so long as the White House did not object.

The release of some information related to the Page FISA document in both the Republican and Democratic memos led to lawsuits from groups like Judicial Watch seeking more information from the Page FISA warrant.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312712

Reported Deaths: 7223
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21445257
Hinds20264414
Harrison17785308
Rankin13548278
Jackson13401246
Madison10055217
Lee9959173
Jones8361163
Forrest7638152
Lauderdale7191240
Lowndes6361144
Lamar620686
Lafayette6164118
Washington5318133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460698
Panola4550105
Pearl River4493145
Marshall4393103
Warren4371121
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408876
Neshoba4022176
Lincoln3944110
Hancock376886
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335590
Tate332084
Pike3290105
Scott314973
Alcorn311268
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299277
Copiah296065
Coahoma293979
Simpson293888
Tippah287468
Prentiss278960
Marion268780
Leake265573
Wayne262241
Adams261882
Grenada260085
Covington256281
George246748
Newton246161
Winston226881
Tishomingo225467
Jasper220748
Attala214173
Chickasaw206957
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181833
Clarke177879
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169732
Yalobusha162936
Smith162134
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125838
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102230
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95328
Franklin83423
Quitman79916
Choctaw76018
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 529446

Reported Deaths: 10930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763031516
Mobile40850804
Madison34622501
Tuscaloosa25701451
Montgomery24289585
Shelby23367247
Baldwin21035307
Lee15822169
Calhoun14469313
Morgan14266279
Etowah13806352
Marshall12185222
Houston10533280
Elmore10029205
Limestone9948150
Cullman9640193
St. Clair9589239
Lauderdale9407239
DeKalb8814185
Talladega8199175
Walker7214277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6801111
Blount6635136
Colbert6288134
Coffee5498117
Dale4820111
Russell438438
Chilton4258111
Franklin424782
Covington4111117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia393076
Chambers3555123
Dallas3543151
Clarke350661
Marion3105100
Pike310177
Lawrence299798
Winston273672
Bibb260463
Marengo249064
Geneva247676
Pickens233659
Barbour230756
Hale222276
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184145
Randolph179241
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158850
Clay155156
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148341
Lamar141534
Lowndes138553
Wilcox126729
Bullock122941
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa106928
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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