Breaking: Carter Page FISA file released

The Trump administration has just released a heavily redacted version of the FISA application on Carter Page to the New York Times and other news organization that sought it under the Freedom of Information Act. The Times reports on the release in this breaking news article by Charlie Savage. I have embedded the file as posted by the Times below via Scribd.

“This application targets Carter Page,” the application states. “The F.B.I. believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.” Savage reports:

Visible portions showed that the F.B.I. in stark terms had told the intelligence court that Mr. Page “has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers”; that the bureau believed “the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” Mr. Trump’s campaign; and that Mr. Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.”

* * * * *

The fight over the surveillance of Mr. Page centered on the fact that the F.B.I., in making the case to judges that he might be a Russian agent, had used some claims drawn from a notorious Democratic-funded dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent. The application cited claims from the dossier about a meeting Mr. Page purportedly attended with a person close to the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, while Mr. Page was on a trip to Moscow in July 2016, two months before leaving the Trump campaign.

Republicans portrayed the Steele dossier — which also contained salacious claims about Mr. Trump not included in the wiretap application — as dubious, and blasted the F.B.I. for using material from it while not telling the court that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign had funded the research.

But Democrats noted that the application also contained evidence against Mr. Page unrelated to the dossier, and that it did tell the court that the research’s sponsor had the political motive of wanting to discredit Mr. Trump’s campaign. They argued that it was normal not to specifically name Americans and American organizations in such materials.

The application shows that the F.B.I. told the court it believed that the person who hired Mr. Steele was looking for dirt to discredit Mr. Trump. But it added that based on his previous reporting history with the F.B.I., in which he had “provided reliable information,” the bureau believed his information cited in the application “to be credible.” It did not use their names.

Critical parts of the FISA application have been redacted. On first pass, however, the Times story seems to me an unintentionally damning account of a damning document whose use of the Steele Dossier on the quoted terms cannot pass muster. I will just add at this point that the Times offers no explanation for the Saturday afternoon timing of the document dump.

CarterPageFISAfile by Scott Johnson on Scribd

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