Inspector General's Office to Investigate FBI Surveillance of Carter Page
Did they follow appropriate procedures to get permission to wiretap?
The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General announced today it will be doing its own review of whether the FBI followed proper procedures when it applied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for permission to wiretap former Donald Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The announcement was short and actually didn't use Page's name, nor does it use the name of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, whose dossier of information about the relationship between Trump's circle and Russian interests played a role in the wiretapping. (Just how big a role it played is under dispute.)
Even without the names, it's obvious from just this one-paragraph memo that it's about Page and Steele:
A refresher for those who have forgotten: Page left Trump's presidential campaign after his close ties to Russian interests were publicized. The FBI subsequently requested permission from FISC to wiretap him in order to investigate his relationship with Russia. The Steele dossier was used as part of the submission to the court to justify the wiretap. The dossier also has political roots, with links to the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee (and the Trump administration itself) and Democrats are fighting over whether the FBI misled the court and whether they had valid reasons to be surveilling Page.
While we're still waiting for the Department of Justice to decide what it can declassify and reveal from the underlying warrant documents about Page, the Office of the Inspector General will pursue its own investigation to determine whether anybody in the FBI behaved inappropriately.