February 5th, 2018

Who was Carter Page and why investigate him?

You can always count on our troll visitors to apprise us of the latest party line talking points. For example:

If Carter Page was not part of the Trump Campaign [according to the Trump spokespeople, after news came out that Page was being investigated], and if the FISA application was applied for after the Trump Campaign publicly said so, how exactly does this warrant prove that the FBI was trying to spy on the Trump Campaign via Carter Page?

Let me count the ways.

From Wiki:

Page served as a foreign-policy advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign. In September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials investigated alleged contacts between Page and Russian officials subject to U.S. sanctions, including Igor Sechin. After news reports began to appear describing Page’s links to Russia and Putin’s government, Page stepped down from his role in the Trump campaign.

When someone is running for office they have a ton of advisors. Most of what they do is give advice on certain policy areas with which they are familiar and are expert. Much of that advice is given through papers. Some of them probably never even meet the candidate. Perhaps that was true of Page; we really don’t know. But no one has ever alleged that Page was a higher-up who had significant direct contact with Trump.

That denial from Miller was issued after it was already in the news that “Page was being investigated for allegedly meeting with Kremlin officials.”

In fact, all we know about Page’s involvement with the Trump campaign is that Page was initially named as a foreign-policy advisor to the Trump effort back in March of 2016, along with quite a few others. He quit after he was already being investigated, although it happened to have been prior to the FISA application from the FBI.

Back to Wiki:

Shortly after Page resigned from the Trump campaign, the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a warrant from the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISA] to surveil Page’s communications. To issue the warrant, a federal judge concluded there was probable cause to believe that Page was a foreign agent knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence for the Russian government…The 90-day warrant was repeatedly renewed.

In January 2017, Page’s name appeared repeatedly in a leaked contract intelligence dossier containing unsubstantiated allegations of close interactions between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

That last bit, the “leaked contract intelligence dossier,” would have been the now-famous Steele dossier that was used to get the FISA warrant and was actually financed by Clinton and the DNC.

So sometime late in the summer or September of 2016, while Page was still at least nominally a Trump foreign policy advisor, he started to be investigated regarding his Russia ties and specifically ties between the Trump campaign and Russia by way of its supposed agent Carter Page. That news was publicly reported in September of 2016 [emphasis mine]:

U.S. intelligence officials are looking into a Donald Trump foreign policy adviser over possible ties to Russia, Yahoo News reported Friday.

Carter Page, who was included on a list of foreign policy advisers that the GOP presidential nominee released in March, is a former banker with Merrill Lynch based in Moscow and has extensive business ties in Russia.

Intelligence officials are reportedly probing whether Page has opened up private lines of communications with top Russian officials, including talks about potentially lifting economic sanctions.

According to multiple sources briefed on the issue, Page’s Russian dealings have been the topic of congressional briefings.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reportedly wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey after one of the briefings this summer about reports of Page meeting with “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow, asking for an investigation and calling the meetings evidence of “significant and disturbing ties” between the campaign and the Kremlin.

Top Democrats in the House have similarly asked the FBI to investigate whether any Trump aides played a hand in the widespread hack of Democratic groups, largely attributed to Russia.

So this was done at the behest of Harry Reid, in addition to the involvement of the DNC and Clinton in the dossier itself.

Once the FISA application was granted, the FBI now had access not only to Page’s past dealings but his future dealings. Perhaps they thought that he was still working for Trump, just not officially. Almost certainly they hoped he would lead them to someone who was working for Trump. And they kept hoping and hoping long enough to renew that application three more times.

But they didn’t really give a rat’s patootie about Page. It was Trump they were after.

As this author writes:

Page was the camel’s nose under the tent. A suspicious character who worked in Russia. That was all the FBI needed. And the FBI camel wasted no time in crawling entirely into the tent.

As the Nunes memo clearly outlined, the FBI and DOJ had two choices at this point in their pursuit of Donald Trump via Carter Page. A FISA Title VII warrant, for surveillance of US persons abroad, specifically those in contact with potential terror organizations, which Page was not.

Or a FISA Title I warrant, with a much higher threshold…Title I is reserved for an, “agent of a foreign power” who is “knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence activities.”…

The Obama administration made the claim that Carter Page was an actual Russian spy, basing the claim on the Steele dossier, which FBI director Comey at the time described to Congress as “salacious and unverified.” This FISA application was made on October 21, 2016, months after Page left the Trump campaign. Furthermore, the application was renewed three more times, twice while Trump was President.

Whether the FISA judge was duped or in on the charade is as of yet unknown, but the Obama justice and intelligence forces were now in the Trump tent.

Anyone and everyone who Page had contact with, past, present, and future, was fair game to spy on. If Page was an advisor to the Trump campaign, even if for only a few months, he undoubtedly had contact with every principal in the campaign, including candidate Trump and his family. Obama and Clinton were essentially embedded within the Trump campaign.

These “incidental contacts” of Carter Page could then be unmasked by Susan Rice and others in the Obama administration. This information then was placed in Obama’s Presidential Daily Brief.

Oh, and by the way, another leftist talking point I’ve seen about Page—that the FBI had investigated him for spying back in 2013, long before he worked for Trump, so he was really the target in 2016—has been refuted:

…[Page’s] name popped up in a case against three Russians who in 2013 were posing as businessmen and trying to recruit Americans to become Russian agents. The Russians apparently wanted to enlist Page, who in the end was not accused of any wrongdoing and has denied any contacts with the Russians beyond ordinary business communications. For their part, the Russians came to view Page as something less than a prize; one of them was captured on a wiretap calling him an “idiot.”

So Page was no Russian agent, nor did he ever appear to be in danger of becoming a Russian agent.

Here’s more from Scott Johnson:

Back in 2013 the FBI was listening to its standard, ongoing, FISA coverage of all things Russian. They were NOT investigating or wiretapping Page. The FBI was investigating and wiretapping Russians. It had no idea who Page was. By listening to Russians, however, the FBI discovered that Page was in touch with Russians.

What they would have done next is standard operation procedure in the counterintelligence world: they did some background on Page, contacted him, and got him to cooperate against those Russians. Anyone who read the court filing in the resulting case–including the Russians–would have had no trouble figuring out that Page had been cooperating with the FBI.

Page was a businessman who had done business with Russia, and his name came up earlier and was completely cleared. That does not translate to the needed evidence for the FISA application that was required to allege that there was credible information that he was a Russian spy before he could be fully investigated. There was no such credible evidence, and the FBI had reason to know it, although it’s much more likely that the FISA court didn’t.

19 Responses to “Who was Carter Page and why investigate him?”

  1. Dave Says:

    was Chuck Schumer threatening the President on behave of the intelligence agencies by claiming that any criticism from the President in regard to his treatment by the intelligence agencies in the investigation of Russia collusion during 2016 election cycle will result in intelligence retaliate against the president? Was he suggesting that they will fabricate something out of thin air to frame Trump even if he was completely innocent? my understanding of the matter is the intelligence community was never friendly with this president that there was never any reasons for them to withheld anything to protect him. If there was any damning evidence it must have been leaked already.

    I have read from somewhere of a theory that the reason why DC hates Trump so much is because DC is a place where everyone has dirt on everyone else as leverage, and Trump is the only completely clean guy that DC collectively does have any leverage against… Seriously this is a guy everyone wants to get rid of and after almost 3 years he has been on the scene all they have is a tape where he said the p word, talking about a guy who was a frequent of howard stern show.

  2. AesopFan Says:

    “Anyone who read the court filing in the resulting case–including the Russians–would have had no trouble figuring out that Page had been cooperating with the FBI.” – Scott Johnson

    I want to reiterate this point, and bring in some other data to support it. There is no way the Russians would have opened up spying channels with Page knowing that the last time they approached him, he went straight to the FBI and possibly helped in putting away 3 of their own agents.

    This crossed my mind last night, but I didn’t have the posts at hand to bring it together, but a link from PowerLine connects the dots very well (I have no idea who the author is or how Scott accessed his post).

    “Naturally I have a theory to explain this.” points to:

    http://meaninginhistory.blogspot.com/2018/02/my-theory-of-carter-page-fisa-fraud.html

    Seriously, Read The Whole Thing.

  3. CapnRusty Says:

    Sundance at theconservativetrehouse is reporting that Carter Page was an FBI employee from 2013 until March of 2016.

  4. John Guilfoyle Says:

    I think we are about to see the walls come crumbling’ down around the DOJ FBI ears.

    This whole thing smells…but…BUT…when does it blowback on the Obama/Clinton syndicate. Somebody somewhere’s gonna talk before they inconveniently shoot themselves twice in the back of the head.

  5. AesopFan Says:

    CapnRusty Says:
    February 5th, 2018 at 7:52 pm
    Sundance at theconservativetrehouse is reporting that Carter Page was an FBI employee from 2013 until March of 2016.
    * * *
    While I was pondering the Page-in-2013 and the Page-in-2016 discrepancies, I thought it would make a good twist in a spy novel if Page was actually an FBI agent, but couldn’t figure out what they had to gain by then putting a target on his back with the FISA warrant, so decided that wouldn’t work.
    Hah — little did I know — truth very often is stranger than fiction, but this is way out of the ballpark.

    I still can’t see how the dots will connect, but I feel like we are all captive in some kind of reality TV series…

  6. Cornhead Says:

    Page has been libeled as an “idiot” by the Russians and the MSM. This idiot graduated in the top 10% of his class at ?Annapolis, Masters from Georgetown, Doctorate from the University of London and then he worked as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch.

  7. Steve57 Says:

    Dave said:

    my understanding of the matter is the intelligence community

    The first thing you have to understand about the intel community is that it isn’t a community. It doesn’t exist, much like the vaunted international community that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama put so much faith in.

    I say this because it was a leftist/Democratic party talking point that all 17 members of the USIC agreed that Putin meddled in our election to help Trump. Such an obvious lie!

    Why would anyone ask the Office of Naval Intelligence about that subject? I was a Naval Intel Officer. It was our job to collect maritime intelligence. Not monitor the purity of our elections. Same goes for Coast Guard Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence, and the Air Force and Army Intelligence agencies. In that we had specific lanes in the road, and for the armed forces intel agencies that would not include monitoring domestic political developments. If we’re monitoring domestic elections that means what we’re not doing is meeting our priority intelligence requirements.

    Why would the National Reconnaissance Office have any clue about Russian involvement in our elections, or the National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency for that matter? If Putin were threatening our nuclear facilities I’m sure the Dept. of Energy would want to know about it, but elections? I could go on, but the fact is there are only 4 agencies in the USIC that would have and could have an official interest in what Putin was doing or not doing election wise.

    People who imagine that all 17 “members” of the USIC concurred with that politicized, weaponized report about Putin meddling in our elections to help Trump have no idea what the 17 members of the USIC do for a living.

    But I do know a little about how Putin operates. He has a track record; in Europe he’ll help left-wing antifah types, and right wing skin heads because he benefits from causing chaos. He benefits from undermining confidence in the electoral process, because that polarizes people politically and no matter how it turns out there is going to be about half the population convinced the results of the election are illegitimate.

    In this, it’s the Democrats who are Putin’s de facto allies. Putin ran the first leg of the race, and then he passed the baton to the Democrats in November 2016 and they’ve been running hard to complete his objective ever since.

  8. Steve57 Says:

    neo said:

    You can always count on our troll visitors to apprise us of the latest party line talking points. For example:

    Anybody who buys those talking points hasn’t been paying attention to the Manafort/Gates prosecution and is therefore too stupid to live.

  9. Avi Says:

    Is Carter page the new Faye Resnick?

  10. AesopFan Says:

    Here’s another disturbance in the force.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dossier-author-steele-wrote-another-anti-trump-memo-was-fed-info-by-clinton-connected-contact-obama-state-department/article/2648099

  11. AesopFan Says:

    Paul Mirengoff at PLB questions the Dems’ questioning of the GOP’s questions of the FBI.

    And gets off a snappy one-liner.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/02/autocracy-thrives-in-darkness.php

    Autocracy is more likely when criticism of powerful departments and agencies is stifled than when it is aired.

    “Democracy dies in darkness,” as I read somewhere.

  12. huxley Says:

    How do we talk to people on the left? It seems with every crisis and scandal the divide widens not just on opinions but actual facts.

    I know I can be partisan but even when I adjust for that, it just seems the left has become unmoored from facts and unable to question its unshakable belief in its moral and intellectual superiority.

    Partly I read this blog because I hoped it would provide answers about that divide and how to bridge it.

    I’m not blaming neo for not solving this problem. I’m saying I’m flummoxed and once upon a time as a good liberal I thought problems could be solved reasoning together.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    huxley:

    I agree that it’s become more and more difficult, and it was already very difficult. I am very perplexed as well. I’ve been dealing with the same problem on a personal level and recently it reached somewhat of a head. If I figure out what to do and have any suggestions I will be sure to write about them.

  14. Manju Says:

    I’ll start chronologically, beginning with 2013

    According to the WSJ, in 2013 the FBI is surveilling two then-alleged Russian spies and discovers them attempting to recruit Carter Page. They interview Page and he helps the FBI prosecute them in 2015, although, according to his own account, he is hostile (he told them to investigate the Boston Bombing instead).

    As Neo notes, the Russians thought him “an idiot” and thus useless. But using this to say Page never appeared “to be in danger of becoming a Russian agent” goes too far, or is short-sighted.

    After all, this “idiot” goes on to become an advisor to then Candidate Trump, making him a potential very Useful Idiot.

    Around this time the FBI also learns about Page’s vehemently pro-Putin views, including the fact that he bragged about being an advisor to the Kremlin.

    So, lets stop here for a moment. Before Trumps presidential campaign and before the creation of the dossier, the FBI knows;

    1. Russian spies attempted to recruit Page.
    2. He held vehemently pro-Putin views and claimed to be an advisor to the Kremlin.
    3. The Russians thought him “enthusiastic” but considered him a Useless Idiot.

    Then the FBI discovers in 2016 that…and they don’t need Steele to discover this:

    4. He becomes an advisor to the presumptive republican nominee. He is now a potential Useful Idiot.
    5. The Idiot is somehow given prestigious commencement address for the Russia’s New Economics School. Is it because he is a renowned US Economist, or is it for another reason?

    Steele focuses on the events in #5. But the FBI does not need Steele to know 5, and certainly didn’t use Steele to learn 1-4. The point is, just going on the public record and excluding all things Steele, you can see the framework for ‘probable cause”.

  15. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The first thing you have to understand about the intel community is that it isn’t a community. It doesn’t exist, much like the vaunted international community that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama put so much faith in.

    I say this because it was a leftist/Democratic party talking point that all 17 members of the USIC agreed that Putin meddled in our election to help Trump. Such an obvious lie!

    The intel factions are closer to an onion in Alice the Wonderland, with the DS (Deep State) somewhere at the center.

    The FBI and CIA are surface bureaucracies, their funding is transparent to a certain extent, at least to Congress.

    The DS has a completely black ops, opaque funding structure. It’s similar to the Federal Reserve.

    So, steve is accurate: it is not a community. It is more like different layers of different factions fighting who knows what, because the left hand doesn’t know the right hand is there let alone what it is doing.

    Bush or Patriot Act can make the orgs share information, but this doesn’t actually do anything to the Deep State: it only affects the Surface Bureacratic peons. It just makes the network more vulnerable to someone data dumping it out, like Snowden or Manning.

    How do we talk to people on the left? It seems with every crisis and scandal the divide widens not just on opinions but actual facts.

    It’s far closer to how Jehovah Witnesses talk to Baptists, and Protestants talk to Latter Day Saints, and LDS talk to the Amish, and the Amish talking to Muslims, and me talking to humans.

    Civil War 2 is inevitable. The fighting started in around 1830 for the first one. 1860 was just the last straw that broke the consensus of peace. 30 years is a pretty big gap for how little history the public educated American drones got.

  16. Harlan Says:

    Anxiously awaiting your update, now that it looks like Carter Page was working FOR the FBI as an operative prior to his association with Trump.

  17. J.J. Says:

    Saw Carter Page interviewed on the Laura Ingraham show last night. My impression: He may be well educated but is rather inarticulate. He tried to explain his association with the prosecution of a Russian agent in 2013 as not very important and an operation in which he didn’t play much of a role. But it was a confusing explanation.

    He mentioned that the MSM started criticizing him as too close to the Russians when he was appointed as one of many foreign policy advisors to the Trump campaign.. He said it was obvious to him and Trump that his reputation was such as to be a liability to the campaign, which was why he was dropped.

    In addition: “Carter Page, a former adviser to then presidential candidate Donald Trump, is suing Oath, the parent company of Yahoo News and the Huffington Post, as well as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The lawsuit results from news stories about his alleged ties to Russia; he calls the articles “highly damaging” and “life-threatening.”
    For which, see here:
    https://www.imediaethics.org/carter-page-former-trump-adviser-suing-huffington-post-yahoo-news-articles/

    My impression of him is that he is bewildered by all the DOJ/FBI machinations to pin the rap him as a Russian collaborator. He does business in Russia. He seems to have an affection for the Russian people. In that way he seems rather naïve about Russian machinations to disrupt our society. He is on record (not said during last night’s interview) as saying that 90% of the problems between the U.S. and Russia can be traced to “misunderstandings.” IMO, a naivete based on his good relations with Russians with whom he has done business. Or maybe he is a Russian operative spreading disinformation. If so, he’s not very good at it.

    All that said, I certainly agree that the DOJ/FBI used him as an excuse for a FISA warrant that allowed them to surveil the Trump campaign. Would these agencies’ heads have gone to such lengths if the GOP candidate had been Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or even, Ted Cruz? I doubt it. Trump induces irrational hatred from those in the establishment and the elites. And it doesn’t seem to be subsiding one iota.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Harlan:

    Yes, I’ve read allegations to that effect. I don’t find them particularly persuasive, although they certainly might be true. As I wrote in this post (quoting Scott Johnson):

    What they would have done next is standard operation procedure in the counterintelligence world: they did some background on Page, contacted him, and got him to cooperate against those Russians. Anyone who read the court filing in the resulting case–including the Russians–would have had no trouble figuring out that Page had been cooperating with the FBI.

    I think that covers it, for now.

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    All that said, I certainly agree that the DOJ/FBI used him as an excuse for a FISA warrant that allowed them to surveil the Trump campaign. Would these agencies’ heads have gone to such lengths if the GOP candidate had been Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or even, Ted Cruz? I doubt it. Trump induces irrational hatred from those in the establishment and the elites. And it doesn’t seem to be subsiding one iota.

    This is seriously underestimating the power of the DS (Deep State), comparable to underestimating the true nature and power of the Leftist alliance, but worse.

    Attributing the hierarchy and orders and influence of the DS to “irrational hatred from the establishment and elites” is a gross strategic mistake.

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