Was Carter Page An Undercover FBI Informant?
- Carter Page shoots down speculation that he worked undercover for the FBI
- “Never did anything of that variety,” Page told The Daily Caller News Foundation
- Page was interviewed by the FBI in June 2013 about contacts with a covert Russian agent
A theory gaining traction about Carter Page in some quarters of the Web is that the former Trump campaign adviser worked as an undercover FBI agent to help bust a Russian spy ring operating in New York City in 2013.
The theory goes that Page, an energy consultant, worked undercover for the FBI to bug a covert Kremlin agent.
But Page dispelled that speculation on Tuesday, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation that he “never did anything of that variety.”
Page is in the national spotlight because of a four-page memo released on Friday that alleges the FBI and Justice Department withheld information about the infamous Steele dossier in order to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on the ex-Trump associate in October 2016.
The dossier accuses Page of meeting secretly in Russia during the campaign with two Kremlin-linked officials, though the 46-year-old Naval Academy graduate vehemently denies the allegations.
Republicans have argued that Page was unfairly targeted because the dossier is largely unverified. Democrats have countered that a spy warrant on Page was justified because of his past interactions with Russians, including those he had in 2013 with a covert Russian agent named Victor Podobnyy.
Amid that debate there has been growing speculation that Page is the under cover FBI agent identified in court documents related to the prosecution of Podobnyy’s spy ring.
It has already been reported that Page was interviewed by the FBI in June 2013 about contacts he had with Podobnyy, who worked covertly as a Russian trade representative to the United Nations.
Page is described as “Male-1” in a sealed complaint filed in 2015 against Podobnyy and his associates, including Igor Sporyshev, a Russian trade representative.
“Male-1 stated that he first met VICTOR PODOBNYY, the defendant, in January 2013 at an energy symposium in New York City,” reads the complaint, which was leaked to BuzzFeed News last year.
Page told FBI agents that he had limited interactions with Podobnyy and was never recruited as a Russian agent. After meeting at the energy conference, he said he provided the Russian operative with a few of his academic writings. They exchanged emails and met once more, Page told the agents.
The FBI has never suggested that Page was a target of its investigation of the spy ring, but his name emerged after a copy of the sealed court document was leaked to BuzzFeed News last April. Days later, government officials leaked the information that a FISA warrant was granted against Page shortly after he left the Trump campaign.
The idea that Page also worked undercover in the case gained steam over the weekend, after the release of the FISA memo.
Internet sleuths drew attention to a March 11, 2016 press release from the Justice Department that described an FBI undercover employee who bugged Sporyshev, the Russian trade representative.
“The FBI obtained the recordings after Sporyshev attempted to recruit an FBI undercover employee (‘UCE-1’), who was posing as an analyst from a New York-based energy company,” the press release states.
“In response to requests from Sporyshev, UCE-1 provided Sporyshev with binders containing purported industry analysis written by UCE-1 and supporting documentation relating to UCE-1’s reports, as well as covertly placed recording devices.”
Part of the description matches up with what’s known about Page, including that he worked as an energy analyst.
An article at RedState analyzed Page’s role in the spy ring case and the Justice Department press release and surmised that “unless there is a significant piece missing to what has been made public, Male-1 is UCE-1 is Carter Page.”
But Page poured cold water on theory.
“I’m not very familiar with the whole UCE concept,” he initially told The Daily Caller News Foundation when asked if he had heard the rumors that he was an undercover FBI agent. “I would assume that I’d have been briefed if I were somehow in it.”
Told that the undercover agent planted recording devices in order to surveil, Page said, “well that settles that.”
“Never did anything of that variety.”
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