FBI Continued Surveillance Of Carter Page Even As Investigation Weakened, DOJ Watchdog Says

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will tell a Senate panel Wednesday the FBI continued its surveillance against Carter Page even after the bureau’s investigation of the former Trump campaign aide weakened.

“The surveillance of Carter Page continued even as the FBI gathered information that weakened the assessment of probable cause and made the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] applications less accurate,” Horowitz said in a prepared statement obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation ahead of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his report on the FBI’s surveillance of Page.

In his report, Horowitz detailed 17 examples in which the FBI omitted or withheld information in applications to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page.

The FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier to assert in FISA warrant applications that there was probable cause to believe Page was an agent of Russia. Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier, asserted Page was part of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” involving the Trump campaign and Russian government. (RELATED: Steele Dossier Played ‘Central And Essential’ Role In FBI Decision To Pursue Surveillance Warrant)

But according to Horowitz’s report, FBI agents spoke to a primary source for Steele who disavowed some of the allegations attributed to them in the dossier. The FBI developed other information that undercut Steele’s reliability and credibility, but none of the information was disclosed to FISA court judges in applications to continue snooping on Page.

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FBI agents also failed to disclose exculpatory information regarding Page and another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The report said the Steele dossier was a “central and essential” factor in the FBI’s decision to pursue FISA warrants against Page. The bureau applied for a warrant immediately after six of Steele’s memos were provided to the FBI’s team investigating the Trump campaign Sept. 19, 2016.

“We determined that the inaccuracies and omissions we identified in the applications resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to Department attorneys and failing to identify important issues for discussion,” Horowitz said in his opening remarks. 

He also said investigators with the office of the inspector general concluded FBI case agents and supervisory agents “did not give appropriate attention to facts that cut against probable cause” that Page was a Russian agent.

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