Persecution in America

Byron York: Why was FBI (Federal Bureau of Imagination) so wrong in Trump-Russia wiretap warrant?

May 16, 2019

It turns out that for many years, the FBI only wore the mask of integrity when asking for a warrant. However, as the truth is coming out, we see the corrupt nature of many of these agents and their level of incompetence and willful negligence. How many hundreds or thousands of Federal warrants had been issued in a similar corrupt fashion?

The FBI's confident assertion — that Page was a Russian agent working with Russia to fix the election — was wrong.

To support its case against Page, the FBI provided specific evidence. In July 2016, Page traveled to Moscow to deliver a speech at the New Economic School. That was actually true, and was reported in the press at the time. While in Moscow, the FBI said, Page had a "secret meeting" with a man named Igor Sechin, head of the Russian energy giant Rosneft. The FBI said the two men discussed a quid-pro-quo deal of "future bilateral energy cooperation" in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Russia.

That information came from the Steele dossier. At that point in the FISA application, the FBI included a lengthy footnote in which, referring to Steele as a "confidential human source" and "Source #1," it said "the FBI assesses Source #1 to be reliable." It also suggested the people who hired Steele might have had a political motive and were "likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1's [Trump's] campaign."

Regardless of motivation, it appears the FBI was wrong on the simple fact of a Page-Sechin meeting. The Mueller report never alleges such a meeting took place.

Next, the FBI said that Page, still on his Moscow trip, met with a senior figure in the Russian government and Putin associate named Igor Divyekin. The two met "secretly," the FBI said, and "their agenda for the meeting included Divyekin raising a dossier or 'kompromat' that the Kremlin possessed on Candidate #2 [Clinton] and the possibility of it being released to Candidate #1's [Trump's] campaign." That information also came from the dossier and was attributed to Steele.

It appears the FBI was wrong again on the basic fact of a Page-Divyekin meeting. The Mueller report never alleges such a meeting took place.

Two entirely blacked-out pages followed the FBI's Divyekin allegation. When the declassified part of the application resumed, the FBI cited a July 2016 Washington Post article alleging, in the FBI's words, "that Candidate #1's [Trump's] campaign worked behind the scenes to make sure Political Party #1's [the Republican Party's] platform would not call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Political Party #1's foreign policy leaders in Washington."

At the time the FBI wrote, the Republican platform story was a staple of Twitter and cable TV talk. Mueller investigated it at length and did not allege that it was part of any conspiracy or coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. Carter Page was not involved at all.

Finally, the FBI discussed a September 2016 Yahoo News article which reported a number of allegations against Page. The FBI noted that the article referred to a "well-placed Western intelligence source" who told Yahoo that Page had met with Igor Sechin and Igor Divyekin. The "well-placed Western intelligence source" was, of course, Christopher Steele, but the FBI did not want to say that its confidential human source was blabbing to the press. So in a footnote, the bureau told the court that, "The FBI does not believe that Source #1 [Steele] directly provided this information to the press."

The FBI was wrong on that, too. Steele did, in fact, directly provide the information to Yahoo News. And the Washington Post. And the New York Times. And CNN. And the New Yorker. And Mother Jones.

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