Partially declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s FBI report reveal that the most ‘central and essential’ evidence to justify surveillance of short term Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page was based on Russian disinformation, according to newly declassified footnotes.
In January, U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a classified letter questioning the contradiction between the footnotes and what was made public by Horowitz’s team regarding the bureau’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. The letter was first reported by SaraACarter.com. In January, the senator’s did not disclose what section of the December FISA report contradicts the footnotes in their findings.
The declassification came at the request Grassely and Johnson, whose committees have been dedicated to uncovering the truth regarding the FBI’s malfeasance during the bureau’s probe into President Donald Trump’s campaign and its now debunked theory that campaign officials colluded with Russia. Those footnotes deal directly with the evidence collected by the FBI from former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, whose salacious and debunked dossier was the bulk of information used to seek a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page.
Johnson, who spoke to this reporter Friday said that the American people deserve the whole truth and that revelations in the partially declassified footnotes reveals that some members of the FBI’s top echelon “were total and complete snakes.” Johnson told this reporter Friday that he expects further declassification of the footnotes by early next week.
Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, credits his committee staffers with the extraordinary find after long hours of combing through every detail of Horowitz’s report. The Senator also published Opinion Editorial on Friday with the Wall Street Journal stating that “Chuck Grassley and I began pressing Attorney General William Barr, and eventually acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, for full declassification of these footnotes. That’s why they’re now public.”
Page, who filed a lawsuit in January against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and law firm Perkins Coie over the unsubstantiated Steele dossier, questioned Friday why the details have never been disclosed before. The DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign paid the now embattled research firm Fusion GPS to investigate Trump and any ties to Russia. The entities did so through the law firm as a cut-out.
“Why have all these details remained unnecessarily secret for so long? In our dual system of Justice, the Mueller Witch Hunt crew falsely misrepresented my own “historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS, when I was actually serving my country in support of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” Page told this reporter. “The time has finally come for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and related agencies to release the full facts about the Obama-Biden Administration’s election interference campaign against candidate Trump and the illicit coup attempt against our President.”
In the Fall of 2016 the FBI obtained a secret warrant to spy on Page, the warrant was renewed in April and in June of 2017, “raising questions about when exactly the FBI received and reviewed these new intelligence reports, and what it did with them,” stated a press release from Johnson and Grassley.
Citing the IG report, the FISA court ordered the FBI to explain how it will take corrective action on the FISA process. A subsequent IG audit of the FBI procedures to ensure accuracy of FISA applications found errors in 29 unrelated applications, prompting the court to order more information from the FBI.
According to Grassley and Johnson the footnotes, “reveal that, beginning early on and continuing throughout the FBI’s Russia investigation, FBI officials learned critical information streams that flowed to the dossier were likely tainted with Russian Intelligence disinformation.”
Despite the evidence showing Moscow’s spy network played a role in spreading deceptive and false information, the FBI none-the-less “aggressively advanced the probe anyway, ignoring internal oversight mechanisms and neglecting to flag the material credibility concerns for a secret court.”Moreover, the FBI officials involved in the probe against Trump continued to use the Russian disinformation to target Trump’s campaign and his administration after discovering it was based on patently false information and lies.
“It would eventually spill over into the years-long special counsel operation, costing taxpayers more than $30 million and increasing partisan divisions – all based on faulty evidence,” said Grassley and Johnson in a statement released Friday. “In the end, the special counsel concluded that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.”
The Senator’s added that “had FBI leadership heeded the numerous warnings of Russian disinformation, paid attention to the glaring contradictions in the pool of evidence and followed long-standing procedures to ensure accuracy, everyone would have been better off. Carter Page’s civil liberties wouldn’t have been shredded, taxpayer dollars wouldn’t have been wasted, the country wouldn’t be as divided and the FBI’s reputation wouldn’t be in shambles.”
“It’s ironic that the Russian collusion narrative was fatally flawed because of Russian disinformation,” the Senators stated. “These footnotes confirm that there was a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, and there were ties between Russian intelligence and a presidential campaign – the Clinton campaign, not Trump’s.”
From Grassley and Johnson’s Press Release Friday
The IG report detailed how the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was conducting opposition research for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
- According to Footnote 302, in October 2016, FBI investigators learned that one of Steele’s main sources was linked to the Russian Intelligence Service (RIS), and was rumored to be a former KGB/SVR officer. However, the FBI neglected to include this information in its application, which the FISA court approved that same month. Two months later, investigators learned that Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS, told a Justice Department attorney that he assessed the same source “was a RIS officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.” In January, the FISA warrant was renewed.
- Footnote 350 states that, in 2017, the FBI learned that intelligence reports “assessed that the referenced subset [of Steele’s reporting about the activities of Michael Cohen] was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.”
- That same footnote (footnote 350) states that a separate report, dated 2017, “contained information … that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s [REDACTED] activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS ‘infiltra[ing] a source into the network’ of a [REDACTED] who compiled a dossier of information on Trump’s activities.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.