Carter Page subject of Russia recruitment effort: FBI documents
Carter Page was the subject of a “targeted recruitment” by the Russian government, according to the late Saturday release of previously top-secret documents used by the FBI to obtain a wiretap warrant for the former Trump campaign aide.
That was among the revelations included in the FBI’s October 2016 application to obtain a wiretap from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch and several media outlets.
Although the 412-page document is heavily redacted but details concerns the FBI had about Mr. Page, who has denied being a Russian spy.
“This application targets Carter Page,” the application said. “The FBI believes Page has been the subject of a targeted recruitment by the Russian government.” There is redacted line followed by “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.”
The application also alleges that Mr. Page “has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers.” FBI officials believed the Russian government’s efforts to meddle in the election was coordinated through Mr. Page and perhaps other members of the Trump campaign.
Mr. Page “has been collaborating with the Russian government,” the warrant says.
On three separate occasions, officials from the Department of Justice including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein renewed the FISA application.
The application also cited a claim from a controversial Democratic-funded dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. It cites Mr. Steele’s allegation that Mr. Page attended a meeting with a person close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2016, while he was still working for the Trump campaign.
FBI agents told the FISA court that it believed the person who hired Mr. Steele was seeking to discredit Trump, according to the warrant. But they also said the bureau believed the information cited in the application “to be credible” because that person provided reliable information in the past.
The name of the person who hired Mr. Steele is not disclosed in the FISA application.
This is said to be the first time in 40 years that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Application (FISA) warrant has become public.
Mr. Page’s FISA warrant has ballooned into one of the biggest political battles in Washington over the past years.
Republicans have charged the FISA warrant was fraudulently obtained by the FBI officials in an effort to spy on the Trump campaign. Democrats, meanwhile, have contended that the warrant is possible evidence there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 election. They have also claimed the Republicans have attacked the warrant in an effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.