The FBI has just released a hint that the claims Russia may hold compromising information about Trump, which a former British spy used to compile a so-called Trump dossier, are true. According to a recent report, the bureau used fragments from the explosive dossier to persuade a judge to issue a surveillance warrant for a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.
The Feds Used the Dossier as a ‘Roadmap’
The news is a signal that the federal agency is confident the unverified dossier is legitimate. Sources said the FBI used the document as a “roadmap” in its probe into claims about a Trump-Russia collusion on the campaign trail. However, the agency did not rely on the dossier alone to prove Page could have collaborated with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election.
The 35-page dossier represents a collection of memos written by former British spy Christopher Steele who worked as an MI6 agent in Moscow for two decades. A source said the info included in the dossier convinced the court Page might be an undercover Russian agent.
Some critics slammed the FBI for using the dossier to destroy Trump politically, other critics think that the FBI had enough evidence to make a case against Page without the dossier. Page who served as an energy consultant but later became Trump’s foreign-policy adviser caught the agency attention because of his collusion with a Russian spy who claimed to be an UN envoy in NYC in 2013.
A former U.S. spy who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity told Business Insider that it is not the first time the feds are using unverified raw intelligence to beef up a case in a FISA court.
The officer said that agents need to convince a judge that somebody is probably serving as an agent of foreign country. For this, they mention the evidence in a declaration routinely known as an affidavit which is signed by the agency’s director.
Page May Be a Russian Agent
Agency employees told The Washington Post that the bureau’s declaration contained evidence that Page acted as a foreign agent and “knowingly” gathered intelligence on behalf of the Kremlin.
According to the dossier, Page acted as a link between the Trump camp and Russian operatives during the presidential race. The dossier also shows that Page visited Moscow last summer where he and his aides were offered the a full 19% stake in a state-owned oil firm if he persuaded Trump’s team to lift sanctions against Russia.
It is worth noting that the standard for getting a FISA order is quite low, so the evidence does not need to have the quality needed by a trial. The agency, though, still needs to back the raw intelligence with its own investigations before it contacts the court.
One former CIA officer said the materials submitted to FISA are rarely 100% legitimate and are subject to challenge. But if the court is ‘satisfied’ with the evidence it can issue the warrant. FISC judges generally approve the warrants if there is “sufficient factual basis” to support the charges, the official added.
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