Carter Page Provides Glimpse Of His CIA Links In New Book

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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  • Carter Page released a book Tuesday that delves into his past relationship with the CIA. 
  • Page reveals in “Abuse and Power” that he provided his CIA contacts with information about suspected Russian intelligence officers, as well as the business climate in China. 
  • A former FBI lawyer pleaded guilty last week to altering an email from a CIA analyst to say that Page was “not a ‘source'” for the spy agency. 

Carter Page, the former Trump campaign aide surveilled by the FBI, revealed in a book released Tuesday that CIA agents recruited him as a source in Moscow, and that he provided the spy agency with insights into suspected Russian intelligence officers and the Chinese energy industry.

“Though it has never before been reported, I was also happy to meet with CIA agents to discuss what I’ve learned about China and my insight into other countries as well,” Page writes in “Abuse and Power.”

Page has largely avoided talking about his contacts with the CIA, but the relationship came into public view late last year with the release of a Justice Department Inspector General’s (IG) report on the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

The IG report said that Page served as an “operational contact” for the CIA through 2013, and that the agency had given him a “positive assessment” in terms of his reliability and candor. As an operational contact, Page was not tasked as an agent to actively collect intelligence for the CIA. Rather, CIA officers would meet with Page to gather his insights on various intelligence targets and other areas of interest.

Page’s CIA contacts were in the news again last week after former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering a June 2017 email to say that Page was “not a ‘source'” for the CIA. An intelligence analyst had informed Clinesmith that Page was a contact for the CIA through at least 2013.

Steven Somma, an FBI counterintelligence investigator who worked on the Trump-Russia probe, also failed to disclose information about Page’s CIA links, according to the IG report. Somma claimed that Page’s contacts with the CIA ended in 2007, years earlier than was actually the case.

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray is sworn in during a House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning FBI oversight in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The IG report criticized the FBI for withholding information about Page’s CIA ties from applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications. The report said that Page’s relationship with the CIA would have been relevant to the court’s decision on whether there was probable cause to believe that Page was working as an agent of Russia. (RELATED: DOJ Deems Two Of Its Carter Page FISAs To Be Invalid)

The FBI alleged in the FISA applications that there was probable cause to believe that Page was working on behalf of the Kremlin and had conspired with Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

The FBI relied heavily on unverified information from former British spy Christopher Steele in its FISA applications against Page. Steele alleged in a dossier that Page was part of the Trump campaign’s “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.

The FBI also cited Page’s contacts beginning in 2013 with Victor Podobnyy, a Russian diplomat who worked undercover as a spy in New York, as evidence he may have been a Russian agent.

Page is referred to as “Male-1” in a March 2016 indictment of Podobnyy and another Russian intelligence officer, Evgeny Buryakov.

The special counsel’s office found no evidence that Page was involved in a conspiracy or that he worked as a Russian agent. Page was also never accused of any wrongdoing regarding his contacts with Podobnyy. The IG report says that Page discussed the Russian intelligence officers with the CIA.

“When I was in Moscow, the only government that ‘recruited’ me as ‘an asset’ was the United States government,” Page writes in “Abuse and Power.”

Page says he met with CIA officers on a “regular basis” when he lived and worked in Moscow in the 2000s.

Page, a former Navy officer, was the chief operating officer for Merrill Lynch’s Moscow offices in the 2000s. He formed his own energy consulting business, Global Energy Capital, years later. He joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 as a volunteer foreign policy adviser.

The former Trump aide does not go into much detail about the information he gave the CIA, though he said he shared “strategic observations” and “mundane details” with his CIA contacts regarding his insights into “Russia’s ever-shifting business and political cliques.”

Page discloses that the CIA had expressed “a significant level of interest” in a Chinese business associate of Page’s who had invited him to an event for the Asia Society in New York in January 2013. Page says his associate, who he does not name, “had a long balanced career” working for the China National Petroleum Corporation and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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