Some Of The Evidence That Could Have Been Used To Justify A FISA Warrant On Carter Page.
The notorious Nunes Memo hides behind the fact that the FISA Warrant applications against Carter Page are classified. Thus we cannot confirm the core allegation of the Memo that the application failed to mention Steele’s potential bias of being paid for his research by Democrats. That point is contested by others who have seen the FISA applications who claim the court was informed that Steele’s research was politically sponsored. Representative Schiff states the Nunes Memo claim in this regard is “not accurate” and that the FISA court was advised that “the research was being paid for by a political entity.”
The greater point might well be that it absolutely does not matter if the FISA applications omitted mention of Steele’s potential bias. The simple truth is that those submitting the FISA applications did not have to include that Steele might be subject to this particular bias.
“When federal judges have faced similar claims in litigation, they have mostly rejected them out of hand. And when courts have been receptive to such claims, it has been because of specific facts that are likely outside the scope of the memo that will be released.” https://www.lawfareblog.com/dubious-legal-claim-behind-releasethememo
Another claim of the Nunes Memo is that but for Steele’s information there would have been no FISA warrant applications submitted. The Steele Memo claims this based on the supposed testimony to the House Intelligence Committee of Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The Nunes Memo claims “McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.”
McCabe’s testimony remains secret, so we don’t know what he really said. However, others who did hear his testimony contest the Nunes Memo’s representation of it.
However, take a look for yourself at the information I have compiled from publicly available sources of potential information that could have been used to support a probable cause FISA Warrant on Carter Page. The FISA warrant applications could have discussed, and provided evidence related to, the following:
- Page was the subject of a FISA Warrant in 2013. The 2016 applications would undoubtedly mention that and include the evidence that justified those warrants.
- This was at least partially because the FBI intercepted Russian agents talking about Page and their efforts to recruit Page as a Russian agent.
- In 2014 the FBI interviewed Page and warned him that Russian agents were targeting him. One purpose of such interviews is to neutralize Russian efforts by tipping off the target. Intelligence officials assume a prudent, and loyal American, would back off their Russian connections knowing KGB is targeting them in this manner.
- In July 2016 Page traveled to Russia, gave a pro-Russian speech against American policy, and had meetings with Russian officials that he did not disclose.
- Steele (yes this is where he comes in), a previously reliable source, told the FBI that Russian sources told him that in those undisclosed meetings Page met with Russians who offered compromising material on Clinton for the Trump Campaign and that Page was receptive to getting it.
- An Australian Diplomat advised the FBI that another member of the Trump Campaign, George Papadopoulos, bragged to him about campaign efforts to get dirt on Clinton from Russian spies who had hacked her email.
All of this stuff could have supported the affidavit against Page, and more that we just don’t know about. However, what is in the public record is certainly more than sufficient to justify the probable cause warrant, with or without notification of Steele’s possible bias.
One more point really needs to be made. Trump claims the Obama Administration misled the court “to spy on the Trump Team.”
In fact, even according to Nunes Memo, the FISA warrant applications were submitted in October 2016, two months after Carter Page left the Trump Campaign in August 2016. The same Carter Page that the White House previously claimed was but a “minor character” merely “on the periphery” of the Trump Campaign.
Notwithstanding the obscuring efforts of the Nunes Memo, the evidence is clear that the FBI had all that was needed, and more, for a probable cause warrant.