The FBI was aware that Carter Page was a CIA asset months before the agency concealed that fact from the FISA court, which granted permission to spy on the former Trump campaign aide.
After withholding this information during the application and two subsequent renewals, top FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith altered documents to specifically say Page wasn't a CIA source during a third warrant renewal, according to a 5-age federal charging document reviewed by The Federalist.
Clinesmith agreed to plead guilty to altering an email which helped justify surveillance of Page to specifically deny that Page was an "operational contact" for the CIA - helping the agency investigate suspected Russian intelligence figures for five years.
The world learned of Clinesmith's crime after Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued a criminal referral following his 434-page report on FBI malfeasance during and after the 2016 US election.
As The Federalist notes, the MSM was hard at work spinning Clinesmith's guilty plea to suggest that there was "no evidence of a broad anti-Trump conspiracy among law enforcement officials."
In fact, contrary to the unsubstantiated assertion from the Times, the charging documents highlight that all four of the applications to spy on Carter Page painted a false picture of the Trump affiliate. While the fourth application included outright falsified evidence regarding Page helping the CIA during the relevant time period, the other three withheld that information even though it was known to the Crossfire Hurricane team within days of opening an investigation on the Trump campaign and months before the first application to spy on Carter Page was granted. -The Federalist
And so, while the Times tries to suggest that Clinesmith was some sort of rogue employee who took it upon himself to ensure the FBI got their spy warrants, IG Horowitz's report reveals that this framing is absurd.
"We found that, although this information [of Page’s cooperation with the CIA] was highly relevant to the FISA application, the Crossfire Hurricane team did not engage with the other agency regarding this information," wrote Horowitz, adding that the "factual basis supporting probable cause" to spy on Page relied upon Page's contacts with known Russian intelligence officers - which he conducted from under the umbrella of the CIA.
The other key evidence the FBI used to support their warrant applications is the debunked Steele dossier, which the Federalist describes as "a collection of drunken brainstorming and unsubstantiated gossip that was used as part of an anti-Trump operation of the Hillary Clinton campaign."
In other words, the FBI had nothing on Page so they simply lied.
Page, a Naval Academy graduate who was accused in the media of sedition against his country, had candidly discussed those contacts with an FBI asset and the CIA had told the Crossfire Hurricane team that on August 17, 2016. Horowitz listed this failure to inform the spy court of these facts that undermined their probable cause claim as the first of 17 major omissions and errors that corrupted the FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign.
The Justice Department already admitted that two of the application renewals were illicit. Informed observers speculate the first application and first renewal to spy on the Trump ally may suffer the same fate. Durham’s charging document, along with the exhaustive IG report, show that Clinesmith’s deception was part of a broader conspiracy against Page. -The Federalist
Also noted by The Federalist is the fact that Horowitz highlighted the errors of many other agents - including "Case Agent 1," which is believed to be agent Steven Somma.
"When Case Agent 1 was explicitly asked in late September 2016 by the Attorney assisting on the FISA application about Page’s prior relationship with this other agency, Case Agent 1 did not accurately describe the nature and extent of the information the FBI received from the other agency," wrote Horowitz.
"Case Agent 1 was primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions in the FISA applications," the IG report continues - noting Somma's mischaracterization of Steele's prior reporting as credible - as well as omitting the fact that Steele's claim of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between Trump and Russia" were contradicted by statements made by another former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos. Somma also excluded the fact that Steele's claim that Page met with Russian businessman Igor Sechin and Russian official Igor Divyekin were disputed.
Read the rest of the report here.