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Tag: carter page

EX-FBI Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Doctoring Email Used for Surveillance of Trump Adviser Carter Page

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI lawyer pleaded guilty Wednesday to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Kevin Clinesmith, 38, admitted he doctored the email, which was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

The guilty plea stems from the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The email suggested that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

Clinesmith admitted he was guilty but said he believed at the time that his statement about Page was true.

“At the time, I believed that the information I was providing in the email was accurate,” Clinesmith told Judge James E. Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, The New York Times reports. “But I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there, and I inserted that information.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 10. He faces up to six months in jail based on sentencing guidelines.

Former FBI Lawyer to Plead Guilty to Doctoring Email During Russia Investigation

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser as part of the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Kevin Clinesmith, 38, is expected to plead guilty to a false statement charge involving mail, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, The Washington Post reports.

Clinesmith, who worked with FBI on obtaining surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, is accused of doctoring an email to suggest that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

During a news conference Friday, Trump called Clinestmith “a very corrupt FBI attorney who falsified FISA warrants in James Comey’s very corrupt FBI.”

“That’s just the beginning, I would imagine, because what happened should never happen again,” Trump said.

Clinestmith’s attorney responded, “Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email. It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility.”

Audit Finds Only Minor Clerical Errors in FISA Warrants After Carter Page Controversy

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Only minor clerical errors were found in an internal audit of 29 warrant applications by the FBI to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), the bureau said in a court filing.

The review follows months of criticism about the FBI’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The audit reviewed nearly 7,000 facts in a sample of 29 applications, and most of the errors involved misspellings and date errors, CNN reports.

“The complete absence in the twenty-nine applications of material errors impacting probable cause should instill confidence in the FBI’s use of its FISA authorities,” FBI acting general counsel Dawn Browning told the court in a sworn statement. “The overwhelming majority of factual assertions — approximately 6,568 — were determined not to be erroneous at all, materially or otherwise. Of the errors that were identified, many were minor typographical errors, such as a misspelled word, and date errors.”

Trump seized on errors in the FISA process to obtain a wiretap on Page to suggest the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy, which has been debunked.

Rosenstein Defends Appointment of Mueller But Said FBI Misled Him on Carter Page Surveillance

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday defended his decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russia’s election meddling, but blamed top-level FBI officials for “significant errors.”

“I still believe it was the right decision under the circumstances,” Mr. Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee about appointing Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel, The New York Times reports. “I recognize that people can criticize me for them. That’s the consequence of being in these jobs — you make decisions and people criticize you for them — but I believed it was the right decision at the time.”

Rosenstein, however, said he signed applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page based on erroneous information and omissions.

The Republican-led committee is ramping up its investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Fix Flaws Found in FISA Court Applications

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged Wednesday to fix the flaws found in the bureau’s applications for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray addressed findings by Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to FISA Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz, however, dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable. Period,” Wray said. “They don’t reflect who the FBI is as an institution.”

Wray told lawmakers that the bureau had changed policies and procedures to clean up the process. That includes more training for FBI officials who apply for the warrants.

Saying the warrants are important to the FBI’s mission, Wray asked lawmakers to renew the FISA authorities, which are set to expire in March.

“I can assure members of this committee we need those FISA authorities,” Wray said. “We need the agility to stay ahead of the threat or we’re all going to regret it.”

FBI Director Wray to Testify before Congressional Committee about Bureau ‘Oversight’

FBI Director Christopher Wray.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray will take the hot seat Wednesday as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about flaws found in the bureau’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The hearing, which is set for 10 a.m., will examine oversight issues, including findings by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz also dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

DOJ Says Surveillance of Carter Page Should Have Ended Earlier

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department says it lacked sufficient evidence to continue surveilling former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.

The department revealed its assessment that it should have ended the surveillance sooner in a December letter to the Foreign Surveillance Court, which oversees surveillance of suspected foreign spies.

The letter, which was made public Thursday and obtained by Reuters, suggested the DOJ lacked probable cause to continue wiretapping Page.

The letter follows a review by the DOJ’s internal watchdog that concluded the FBI left out evidence evidence and went too far in its investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Comey Says FBI Vindicated, But Admits Was ‘Wrong’ Defending FISA Process

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted Sunday that he was wrong to defend the bureau’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But Comey said the inspector general report vindicated himself and the FBI because it concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

“I was wrong,” Mr. Comey said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the bureau’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Page. “I was overconfident, as director, in our procedures. And it’s important that a leader be accountable and transparent. If I were still director, I’d be saying the same thing that [FBI Director Christopher Wray] is saying, which is that we are going to get to the bottom of this, because the most important question is, is it systemic? Are there problems in other cases?”

According to the report, the FBI made “17 significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the applications to surveil Page.

Trump seized on Comey’s admission that mistakes were made in the FISA process.

“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” the president tweeted Sunday. “Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”

The report, however, contradicted Trump’s larger conspiracy theories that the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy.”

“The inspector general did not find misconduct by F.B.I. personnel, did not find political bias, did not find illegal conduct,” Comey said.