Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s report on alleged FBI misconduct in surveilling the Trump campaign found that the FBI “altered” evidence that falsely cast former Trump presidential campaign adviser Carter Page as a Russian spy.
The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis and Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway wrote that the report “found that the FBI falsely claimed to the FISA Court not only that Carter Page was a Russian agent, but also falsely claimed that an unnamed intelligence agency had told the FBI that Page was ‘not a source’ in their efforts to surveil and curtail Russian intelligence efforts.”
“Page, who had previously been an informant and witness for the United States in a federal espionage case against a Russian intelligence official, was targeted by the Obama FBI as a Russian spy helping Putin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton in 2016,” The Federalist reported. “According to the IG report, before the FBI and DOJ went to the FISA Court to apply for a warrant to spy on Page, an unnamed U.S. intelligence agency had told the FBI that Carter Page had previously assisted that agency’s efforts against Russian spies. Although exculpatory information about potential spy targets is required in spy warrant applications, Obama’s FBI and DOJ deliberately withheld that information from the spy court in order to paint Page in the worst possible light.”
“Ahead of an application to renew the spy warrant in 2017, a top FBI lawyer doctored evidence from the unnamed agency which confirmed that contrary to FBI claims that he was a Russian spy, Page had in fact assisted the United States in its efforts to counter Russian operations,” The Federalist added. “An e-mail from the agency that clearly stated Page was ‘a source’ for them was doctored by Kevin Clinesmith, a top FBI national security lawyer, to give the opposite impression to the federal spy court.”
The inspector general’s report found [emphasis added]:
The renewal applications also continued to fail to include information regarding Carter Page’s relationship with another U.S. government agency and information Page had shared with the other agency about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers, even after the Crossfire Hurricane team re-engaged with the other U.S. government agency in June 2017.
As described in Chapter Eight, following interviews that Page gave to news outlets in April and May 2017 stating that he had assisted the U.S. intelligence community in the past, one of the SSAs supervising Crossfire Hurricane sought additional information about the issue. SSA 2, who was to be the affiant for Renewal Application No. 3 and had been the affiant for the first two renewals, told us that he wanted a definitive answer to whether Page had ever been a source for another U.S. government agency before he signed the final renewal application, because he was concerned that Page could claim that he had been acting on behalf of the U.S. government when engaging with certain Russians.
This led to interactions between the OGC Attorney assigned to Crossfire Hurricane and a liaison from the other U.S. government agency. In an email from the liaison to the OGC Attorney, the liaison provided written guidance, including that it was the liaison’s recollection that Page had a relationship with the other agency, and directed the OGC Attorney to review the information that the other agency had provided to the FBI in August 2016. As noted above, that August 2016 information stated that Page did, in fact, have a prior relationship with that other agency. However, the OGC Attorney altered the liaison’s email by inserting the words “not a source” into it, thus making it appear that the liaison had said that Page was “not a source”; the OGC Attorney then sent the altered email to SSA 2.
Relying upon this altered email, SSA 2 signed the third renewal application (that again failed to disclose Page’s past relationship with the other agency). Consistent with the Inspector General Act of 1978, following the OIG’s discovery that the OGC Attorney had altered and sent the email to SSA 2, who thereafter relied on it to swear out the final FISA application, the OIG promptly informed the Attorney General and the FBI Director and provided them with the relevant information about the OGC Attorney’s actions.
None of these inaccuracies and omissions that we identified in the renewal applications were brought to the attention of OI before the applications were filed. As a result, similar to the first application, the Department officials who reviewed one or more of the renewal applications, including Yates, Boente, and Rosenstein, did not have accurate and complete information at the time they approved them.
The IG report found that the FBI made 17 “serious” errors in getting a FISA application on Carter Page and said that the FBI “fell far short” in correctly doing its job. The Daily Wire has already separately reported on these specific 17 errors.
The report stated that investigators were “deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny.”