Newly released material exposes previously unknown details showing the extent of the FBI’s controversial surveillance of Carger Page, who served as a tangential campaign adviser to President Donald Trump.
Yesterday, two Republican senators released previously redacted footnotes to a Justice Department watchdog report that was partially declassified in December.
The footnotes reveal that in addition to electronic surveillance, such as cell phone monitoring and searching email accounts, James Comey’s FBI also carried out what was described as “physical searches targeting Carter Page.”
Some of those “physical searches” were described in a footnote that related the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NDS) raised issues about whether the FBI followed Standard Minimization Procedures (SMP) when conducting those searches.
The footnote describing two separate searches of Page’s property relates:
On May 10, 2019, NSD sent a second letter to the FISC concerning the Carter Page FISA applications, advising the court of two indicants in which the FBI failed to comply with the SMPs applicable to physical searches conducted pursuant to the final FISA orders issued by the court on June 29, 2017.
According to the letter, the FBI took and retained on an FBI‐issued cell phone photographs of certain property taken in connection with a FISA‐authorized physical search on July 13, 2017, which NSD assessed did not comport with the SMPs. In addition in a separate incident on July 29, 2017, the FBI took photographs in connection with another FISA‐authorized physical search and transferred the photographs to an electronic folder on the FBI’s classified secret network.
Contacted by Breitbart News, Page said that he searched his location history and found that on July 23, 2017 he was staying at a hotel in Princeton, NJ. On July 29, 2017, the other date mentioned in the footnote for when the FBI took pictures of his property after a physical search, Page says he was staying at a hotel in Norwalk, CT.
“As alluded to, my life was put at risk thanks to all the death threats I was getting then based on the fake news. So I was on the run and changing my locations frequently to stay safe,” Page said.
Page said that until the footnotes were released yesterday, he was unaware that the FBI entered his hotel rooms on those dates to search his property.
Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin released the footnotes and put out a joint statement saying the details prove the FBI’s claimed justification to obtain the FISA warrants to spy on Page “was riddled with significant flaws.”
The FISA warrants to spy on Page repeatedly relied on the infamous, discredited dossier authored by former British spy Christopher Steele. Steele was working on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was paid to produce the dossier by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee via the Perkins Coie law firm.
The footnotes, meanwhile, raise further questions about the FBI’s conduct, showing the agency was aware of numerous flaws and red flags about Steele and his reporting at the time it used the dossier claims as an excuse to spy on Page.
One footnote documents that the the FBI was alerted in 2017 that one of Steele’s allegations included in the dossier was “part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.” Meaning Steele’s wild charges about Trump may have been part of a Russian misinformation campaign.
Another footnote says the Russian Intelligence Service may have targeted Obris, Steele’s company, and that Russian intelligence was aware of Steele’s investigation into Trump.
That footnote states:
In late January 2017, a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team received information that RIS may have targeted Orbis and research all publicly available information about it.
However, an early June 2017 USIC report indicated that two persons affiliated with RIS were aware of Steele’s election investigation in early July 2016. The Supervisory Intel Analyst told us he was aware of these reports, but that he had no information as of June 2017 that Steele’s election reporting source network had been penetrated or compromised.
Another bombshell footnote documents the FBI was not only aware Steele’s dossier was potentially influenced by Russian “disinformation”, the agency also had information from sources totally denying some of Steele’s main claims.
The footnote reveals an “inaccuracy” about Steele’s claims about former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The “inaccuracy” is not listed in the footnote. Steele’s dossier claimed that Cohen met with Russian agents in Prague in the summer of 2016. After that charge was first revealed in media reports, Cohen released passport information showing he never traveled to Progue.
The footnote documents a February 27, 2017 intelligence report citing a source who said that Steele’s most high-profile claim about Trump – relating to Russian prostitutes and urination in a hotel room — was not only false but was a product of Russian intelligence infiltrating Steele’s source network.
That footnote reads:
A USIC report dated February 27, 2017, contained information about an individual with reported connections to Trump and Russia who claimed that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s sexual activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS “infiltrate[ing] a source into the network” of a who compiled a dossier of that individual on Trump’s activities. The noted that it had no information indicating that the individual had special access to RIS activities or information.
Before those footnotes, there were already questions about whether Steele’s so-called sources were a product of Russian misinformation.
As Breitbart News previously reported, a book by the co-founders of Fusion GPS disclosed that Steele was unable to travel to Russia because the Russian government had reason since 1999 to suspect he was an MI6 intelligence officer. The information raises questions about the credibility of any supposed information on Trump that could be obtained by Steele from alleged Russian sources given that Russia had already suspected his ties to British intelligence.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein_