by Chuck Ross
FBI Director Christopher Wray told the federal surveillance court in a letter Friday that he “deeply regrets” the bureau’s many errors in the process to obtain surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“The FBI has the utmost respect for this Court, and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified by the OIG,” Wray wrote in a letter to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
A judge on the FISC ordered the FBI on Dec. 17 to respond by Friday with a roadmap on how the bureau plans to address the problems identified in a Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report regarding applications for warrants to wiretap Page.
The IG report, released on Dec. 9, identified 17 errors and omissions that the FBI made in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications against Page. The report said FBI agents withheld information that undercut the bureau’s suspicion that Page worked as an agent of Russia while he served on the Trump team. Agents also failed to disclose information that raised questions about the credibility and motives of Christopher Steele, a former British spy Democrats hired b to investigate President Donald Trump.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s infamous dossier in the Page FISA applications.
Wray, who took over the FBI more than a month after the fourth and final Page FISA had been approved, said that one remedy he plans to implement will be to use the Page FISA as a case study in training sessions that FBI personnel will be required to undergo.
“FBI personnel will be instructed on the errors and omissions that were made in the Carter Page FISA applications and associated processes,” Wray said.
The training will include a test “to confirm that personnel understand the expectations and the materials,” as well as certification for FBI employees who have completed the training, he added.
Wray set April 30 as a deadline to complete the training.
Steele asserted in the dossier that Page and others on the Trump campaign were part of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election, according to the IG report. The report said the FBI did not corroborate the allegation but used the claim to assert that Page was a Russian agent.
The special counsel’s investigation undercut the idea that Page was a Russian agent. Page, a former Naval officer, was never charged in the investigation. A report of that probe said that investigators found no evidence that anyone on the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election or acted as an agent of Russia.
Steele’s primary source for information in the dossier told FBI agents in January 2017 that the former spy exaggerated and mischaracterized information in the dossier. Steele told FBI agents in October 2016 that a sub-source for the dossier was a “boaster” and “embellisher.” FBI agents failed to disclose that information in the FISA applications.
One FBI agent also failed to disclose that the CIA said in August 2016 that Page was an “operational contact” for the agency.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Background Photo “J. Edgar Hoover Building” by I, Aude. CC BY-SA 3.0.