US sought to monitor Trump adviser last summer
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 13, 2017,
Apr 13, 2017, 11:13
To secure the warrant, they needed to convince a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russian Federation, according to the officials.
Page is not facing any criminal allegations and it is uncertain if the Justice Department will later sue him or the others who are in connection with the meddling by Russian Federation during the presidential campaign in 2016.
Page has constantly denied the allegations during media interviews and said he did not work with the Russians to influence the presidential elections. Most of similar investigations do not necessarily result to criminal charges.
"This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance", Mr. Page said in a statement. Campaign spokesman Hope Hicks later described Page's role as "informal".
A former Donald Trump advisor at the eye of a firestorm over alleged ties to Russian Federation by the billionaire businessman's presidential campaign on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing.
Page was the only American a FISA court has granted the government permission to eavesdrop on as part of the probe into Russia's election meddling, officials told the Post.
The Post reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department felt reluctant to use a FISA warrant on campaign figures during the election because it could lead to intercepted communications regarding political campaign strategy.
The White House, FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.
The FBI's investigation was disclosed last month by Director James Comey during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
During the hearing last month, Democratic lawmakers repeatedly singled out Page's contacts in Russian Federation as a cause for concern.
Page, who has denied having improper ties to Russian Federation, told the AP Tuesday he was "happy" that the court order had been revealed and blamed the Obama administration for trying to "suppress dissidents who did not fully support their failed foreign policy".
By coincidence, a spokesman for Mr. Manafort on Wednesday revealed that he has chose to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for lobbying work he did on behalf of political interests in Ukraine, led at the time by a pro-Russian political party, The Associated Press reported. Those who think it's simply preposterous to believe that anyone in Trump's orbit had improper contact with Russian officials - that the entire affair is concocted out of whole cloth in a worse-than-Watergate scandal that features the "deep state" attempting a "soft coup" - seem to be simply assuming that Page (and men like Paul Manafort) did everything right.
An application for electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act need not show evidence of a crime. The 90-day FISA warrant to surveil Page was renewed at least once.
In February, Page told PBS that he was a "junior member of the [Trump] campaign's foreign policy advisory group".
"Their private assessment contradicts President Donald Trump's allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the "unmasking" of U.S. individuals" identities. It's more of a "he alleged-he said, he said, she said, he said, he said" sort of situation.
The Trump team has sought to diminish its relationship with Page, who left the campaign in September 2016.
The secret order allowed the government under the Obama administration to monitor the communications of the adviser, Carter Page, as part of an investigation into potential links between Russian Federation and the Trump administration. The dossier says the offer was made in July, when Page was in Moscow giving a speech at the Higher Economic School.
"Let's not jump to any conclusions, and until a full investigation has been done, we just don't know", Page said.