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.
Republican and Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence previously released highlights from the documents. A memo released by Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has revealed that the Justice Department and FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier in the FISA applications.
The dossier is the first piece of evidence cited in the FISA application section laying out the allegations that Page coordinated with Russian government officials on election-related “influence activities.”
That section cites information from “Source #1” who alleged that during a trip to Moscow in July 2016, Page met secretly with two sanctioned Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin, as part of a collusion scheme involving the Trump campaign.
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.
“This is an unprecedented moment in FOIA transparency, as never before has a FISA warrant been processed for release,” Bradley Moss, a national security attorney who filed one of the numerous lawsuits for the Page documents, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Now, with the actual documents in hand, not political spin written by lawmakers with agendas, the American public can make their own decision on whether anything was inappropriate about the surveillance of Carter Page,” added Moss, who is deputy executive director for the James Madison Project, a government transparency group.
Reached for comment shortly after The Times published the FISA applications, Page told TheDCNF: “I’m having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above completely ignorance and/or insanity.”