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Secret Carter Page Surveillance Warrant Documents Released

Heavily redacted report shows the FBI believed former Trump aide was helping the Russians.

Carter PageSergei Karpukhin/REUTERS/NewscomThe FBI believed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government working on behalf of the Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election when the agency requested permission to secretly engage in surveillance on him.

The FBI's warrant requests with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) were released over the weekend in heavily redacted form, the result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to get more information.

It is unheard of for secret warrant documents from FISC to be publicly released. One of the court's purposes is to provide a second branch of governmental oversight over our extremely secretive executive branch foreign surveillance. But the surveillance of Page has become a massive focus of public conflict over whether the FBI's snooping of people connected to the Trump campaign was legitimate or politically motivated. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been consumed with either defending or attacking the investigation and the validity of the warrant.

The information released in the warrant is not going to resolve the conflict. Indeed, it appears to be playing out on Twitter and in media discussions exactly the same as it already had been. Critics of President Donald Trump and the administration believe that the warrant shows that the FBI was thoughtful and careful in its requests to FISC and had plenty of valid evidence and concerns above and beyond the controversial "Steele Dossier" that suggested that Russia had compromising information about Trump. For supporters of Trump, the warrant is thin on evidence and heavy on hearsay that Page was doing anything wrong.

Page went on CNN this morning to deny being a Russian agent. He has not yet been charged with any crimes. And Trump, of course, tweeted:

Two responses to those tweets: One, the FBI didn't submit these warrants until after Page left Trump's campaign, a detail that gets repeated and repeated but seems to get ignored. Page was not surveilled while he was working for Trump's campaign. Two, the four judges who approved the warrants were all appointed by Republican presidents.

But if you're looking for me to tell you whether the warrants were on the level, I'm afraid I don't have any answers for you, because of that issue of FISC warrants being kept secret. I have no basis of comparison here with other warrants that have come before the court. We don't really have contextualization to say that the warrant was more or less thorough in making its case than previous warrants.

I will say, though, that the insistence by some that the warrant didn't have enough to justify surveillance suggests that certain Trump supporters will settle for nothing less than a full smoking gun, which would make the need for surveillance unnecessary in the first place. This was a hunt for evidence based on probable cause, not a full indictment. That there's uncertainty in the warrant doesn't invalidate it and it doesn't necessarily tag it as a "fishing expedition." The warrant is for the purpose of finding out whether Page was violating the law in the scope of his relationships with Russia. If it turns out he was not, that doesn't actually mean the warrant was bad or politically motivated. Sometimes investigations show that people are innocent.

It may ultimately mean that the FISC judges are too quick to approve warrants, but that's a completely separate discussion that we're probably never going to have because it has nothing to do with Trump and everything to do with how the court operates. And we know that just last year, Trump approved the renewal and expansion of the surveillance powers of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to be used against American citizens while complaining at the exact same time that he had been snooped on.

That people don't care about the court outside of Trump's interests (either shielding or attacking him) is a disappointment, because Page is hardly the only American whose life can be upended on the basis of secret evidence concealed from the public. The release of parts of a FISC warrant should actually be the tip of the iceberg of bringing some more transparency to America's most secretive court. If trends continue, though, it will remain largely submerged.

Read the FBI warrants here.

Photo Credit: Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    A sane and rational article that admits we don't really know whether either side engaged in malfeasance? On my woketarian magazine's blog?

  • DiegoF||

    So what ends up happening? The suspense is killing me!

  • juris imprudent||

    ...and nothing else happened.

  • harpac||

    This is BS!! I come here to have my wildest conspiracy theories confirmed, dammit! How does reason.com expect to garner any traffic with this insane fair-mindedness??

  • LynchPin1477||

    The comments will balance things out.

  • Longtobefree||

    These are not the answers you are looking for . . . . . .
    Move along now . . . . . . . .
    Just for myself, "heavily redacted" and "released" do not belong in the same sentence.

  • tlapp||

    Exactly, the redactions just create a new set of questions. Trump should declassify the entire document. I believe it would not only put this one in question but question the entire process. A secret court with no oversight should not exist in the US.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    I wonder if Putin's Russia has secret courts. Of course the best secret court is never revealed. It is [REDACTED].

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The first rule of Secret Court is we don't talk about.......DAMMIT!!!!!!

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    a full smoking gun, which would make the need for surveillance unnecessary in the first place.

    This whole piece is confused, but this ... you need to go sit in the corner and think about this for awhile.

  • Tony||

    Trump approved the renewal and expansion of the surveillance powers of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to be used against American citizens while complaining at the exact same time that he had been snooped on.

    Hoisted on his own retard.

  • buybuydandavis||

    hardly

    These are the rules until further notice: the executive branch gets to spy on the their political opponents.

    Did you forget who's the head of the executive branch?

  • Tony||

    Some day I must visit this Alice in Cunterland where you must believe 5 lies before breakfast.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You believe an unlimited amount of it comes from a progtard approved source. You're like a baby eating it's pablum.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Tony, you've been showing signs of humor recently. Should we be worried?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Critics of President Donald Trump and the administration believe that the warrant shows that the FBI was thoughtful and careful in its requests to FISC and had plenty of valid evidence and concerns above and beyond the controversial "Steele Dossier" that suggested that Russia had compromising information about Trump."

    Could you list the valid evidence above and beyond the "Steele Dossier" that suggests Russia had compromising information about Trump--and was, therefore, worthy of a warrant?

    Just list it right under this comment.

    1) . . .
    2) . . .
    3) . . .

    Thanks!

  • Tony||

    What principle of American justice is it that requires us to omit extremely relevant evidence before we can cite evidence?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'd ask WTF you're talking about, but it really doesn't matter.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Past Me is simply asking why you can't accept that the election was rigged by the Russians. You keep demanding evidence for some reason.

  • Tony||

    He's demanding evidence in the face of face-smackingly overwhelming evidence, including multiple indictments, and demand for no rational reason that we exclude some of the evidence.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|7.22.18 @ 7:56PM|#
    "He's demanding evidence in the face of face-smackingly overwhelming evidence, including multiple indictments,.."
    1) Indictments are not convictions.
    2) Indictments for actions well prior to any connection to Trump are meaningless.
    3) Indictments for 50 in a 35 zone are irrlevant.
    4) You're a fucking ignoramus, and a liar besides.

  • Jayburd||

    Um, he hasn't been indicted on #4 yet, but there's plenty of face smacking evidence.

  • Jayburd||

    At what point does the face smacking get overwhelming?

  • Jayburd||

    I usually don't respond to Tony but I'm getting aroused and I'm straight.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Join us, Jayburd. Becum a Gayburd. Just like us Tonys.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Face smacking does that to some people.

    Tony getting face smacked would turn anyone on.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "Um, he hasn't been indicted on #4 yet, but there's plenty of face smacking evidence."

    How about NOTHING? That appears to be the amount you're referring to.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They're saying they had valid evidence "above and beyond the Steele Dossier"!

    And they're saying that the released documents show that.

    I'm just asking somebody to tell me what they're talking about because I don't see it.

    They're actually saying they have evidence. Looks like "The Emperor's New Clothes". Only a fool couldn't see all the evidence!!!!

    Okay, assume I'm a fool. Where's the evidence they're talking about? They say it's in the released documents. I don't see it.

    1) . . .
    2) . . .
    3) . . .

    Thanks!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There is a British spy trying to rig US national elections. Thats their probable cause.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    A British spy in the employ of the Clinton Campaign/DNC surrogates.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Or . . . maybe you've really never heard of the Fourth Amendment?

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    ----Fourth Amendment

    What was the evidence that constituted probable cause "above and beyond" the "Steele Dossier"?

    Go ahead. The documents are linked in the story. Use Google if you like.

    Just list 'em.

    1) . . .
    2) . . .
    3) . . .

    Thanks!

  • ThomasD||

    Never going to happen. Because you cannot spell Shackford without hack.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's an extraordinary claim, isn't it?

    I've heard of burying the lead, but this one seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

    Now, I appreciate that Shackford isn't saying that the evidence is there. He's saying that's what "Trump's critics" are claiming. Isn't the issue the nature of that evidence?

    What evidence are they talking about?

    How can we have a reasonable discussion of this without that evidence?

    Show me the money!

    The FISA court has rejected less than twenty of the thousands of warrant applications its considered in a decade. It rejected the FBI's application to do surveillance on the Trump campaign--presumably because it stunk. When they reapplied with the "evidence" from the "Steele Dossier", it was approved.

    Given those facts, it's reasonable to think that the "evidence" from the "Steele Dossier" made the difference. If there's evidence "above and beyond" what was in the "Steele Dossier", then I need to reconsider that. So where's the evidence? What are they talking about?

    1) . . .
    2) . . .
    3) . . .

    Thanks!

  • Calidissident||

    Page wasn't a part of the trump campaign when they started surveillance on him.

    They redacted much of the documents so you can't assess the evidence beyond the Steele dossier - but that also doesn't mean such evidence doesn't exist or is flimsy.

    And if you're going to critique the IC for not declassifying such information and argue that it implies that there was no evidence beyond the Steele dossier, that logic works both ways - trump is POTUS, if the unredacted document sounds show no (good) evidence beyond the Steele dossier, why doesnt he declassify it all and prove it?

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Page wasn't a part of the trump campaign when they started surveillance on him.

    Why does this matter? The warrant allowed them to surveil practically the entire campaign.

    They redacted much of the documents so you can't assess the evidence beyond the Steele dossier - but that also doesn't mean such evidence doesn't exist or is flimsy.

    That the Steele dossier is included, right up front, and repeatedly misrepresented, is in fact strong evidence of the quality of what's redacted.

    if the unredacted document sounds show no (good) evidence beyond the Steele dossier, why doesnt he declassify it all and prove it?

    This is in bad faith.

  • Calidissident||

    How is page the entire campaign? The page FISA warrant isn't authorization for everything related to all aspects of the overall Russia investigation. Page wasn't even the he finished first rump associate investigated, papadopulous was under investigation before him.

    If they had redacted evidence that supported Steele, then the inclusion of the dossier doesn't necessarily reflect poorly. Also are you still buying nunes's nonsensical claims?

    How is it any worse bad faith than people assuming there must be nothing significant in the redacted portions?

  • Calidissident||

    That should say page wasn't the first trump associate under investigation. Typing on my phone.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    That should say page wasn't the first trump associate under investigation.

    1) That was the most recent Comey/Brennan story in the NYT. Yes.

    2) Unless somebody is proven to have done something real, running informants at every weirdo in the campaign is not, in fact, a good look.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    The FISA warrant doesn't just cover Page. It goes to 2 or 3 degrees of separation. This was part of the Snowden stuff.

    If they had redacted evidence that supported Steele, then the inclusion of the dossier doesn't necessarily reflect poorly.

    If they had evidence to support Steele, the dossier would be a footnote instead of the bulk of the warrant. Have you read the warrants? Because this seems like a left-wing talking point for people who don't have a sense of the narrative in the warrant. The relevant stuff is only 15- 20 high-school-term-paper spaced pages.

    How is it any worse bad faith than people assuming there must be nothing significant in the redacted portions?

    It's bad faith because you know the answer. (He's staying out of the Russia stuff.) Also because you could say the same about the IC, who leaked like a sieve until ~ the Grassley/Graham memos.

  • Calidissident||

    There are a bunch of pages that are entirely redacted. Forming a conclusive judgment without knowing is more than a bit premature. Furthermore, the length of the documents grew at each renewal.

    And regarding the Brennan/Comey NYT story - what are you even trying to say here? The House Republicans released a memo saying that the investigation into Papadopolous started in July 2016, the Page FISA warrant wasn't until October.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    There's not actually that much room for there to be something new thoroughly fleshed out. E.g. the entire section on what the FBI wants is redacted, but that's surely boilerplate stuff that's redacted b/c "methods." In the meaningful section on Carter Page (III), there's paragraphs that are redacted that's clearly private info from interviews.

    July 2016, the Page FISA warrant wasn't until October..

    Halper contacted Page in ... July 2016. Or is running snitches at people AKSHUALLY not an investigation?

    And regarding the Brennan/Comey NYT story - what are you even trying to say here?

    The NYT had a story about this thing starting with Page. Then after the FISA scandal started there was another story, clearly from Brennan and Comey, claiming it started with Papa. None of this is really iron clad info.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So the benefit of the doubt goes to the government? Rather curious position to take on an ostensibly libertarian site.

  • Calidissident||

    The current President doesn't count as the government? All I'm saying is that assuming there is nothing of value in the redacted section is a big jump to conclusions.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So guilty until proven innocent? Who are we to question a government who indicts a firm for crimes they supposedly committed before they even existed?

  • damikesc||

    There are a bunch of pages that are entirely redacted

    Given PRIOR redactments in this whole investigation, do we have any reason to believe these redactments are more than intel trying to cover their asses?

    They've done multiple redactions for precisely that purpose during this whole Russian investigation nonsense and all ancillary issues involved.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "How is page the entire campaign?"

    You really don't know how this works, do you? The rest of the campaign was just "incidental intercepts." They were playing "Six Degrees of Carter Page".

    Carter Page.

    Anyone who had a phone conversation with Carter Page.

    Anyone who had a phone conversation with (anyone who had a phone conversation with)...

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They redacted much of the documents so you can't assess the evidence beyond the Steele dossier"

    So the claim that there's evidence above and beyond the Steele Dossier is unsubstantiated, that's what you're saying?

    The claim that the Steele Dossier was used as evidence in the warrant application doesn't need any further substantiation. Its existence in the warrant application has already been substantiated.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Does the question of whom paid for the Dossier or how it was compiled require any further substantiation?

    The correct answer is "no", isn't it?

    Was the connection of the Steele Dossier to the Clinton campaign revealed to the judge that issued the warrant?

    Isn't the correct answer "no"?

    Hasn't that already been established?

  • Calidissident||

    FISA warrants don't name US persons who aren't the target. Even trump is referred to as candidate #1 when it was obvious who that was.

    They did disclose that steele was hired to conduct opposition research on trump. They didn't say specifically name Clinton but anyone with a brain could tell it had to be her or at least Democratic pac/super pac. Steele himself wasn't even told the dnc and clinton were fusion's ultimate clients when he was hired.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    They did disclose that steele was hired to conduct opposition research on trump.

    No, they said they "suspected" as much. Which is either a regular lie or one those lies only lawyers get to make.

    Steele himself wasn't even told the dnc and clinton were fusion's ultimate clients when he was hired.

    ROFL

  • Calidissident||

    You seemed to completely miss the point of my sentence about Steele - I agree that it doesn't really matter whether or not he was specifically told who hired Fusion GPS, because either way he was hired to conduct opposition research on Trump and could have easily guessed that they were hired by either the Clinton campaign, the DNC, or a Democratic-affiliated PAC. My point is that you can't simultaneously think that, and then think that the judges were incapable of properly assessing potential bias unless it was explicitly stated that the DNC/Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS who hired Steele. In both cases the motivation is obvious and the pool of potential clients is limited to them and Democratic PACs.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    I don't entirely disagree, but there's a continuum here. On one end is "Here's a bag of unmarked rubles and vodka. Get some Kremlin-y people talking and we'll put whatever they say in a 'dossier.'" On the other end is "Old Russian Hand, I've got some leads I'd like you to investigate. When you're done I'd like a report on what is proven, what is suspected, and what is disproven." The real provenance of the dossier is pretty close to the first scenario even though it's always been represented as the latter. E.g. in the media it was the "former British spy" "highly trusted" etc. etc. It comes out later that even he doesn't even stand by the thing with any degree of certainty.

    Also, it's not really fair to compare the info the court has (a mealy mouthed paragraph) to Steele (knew Simpson well).

  • Calidissident||

    Based on public information yes but is that really very meaningful in a counterintelligence FISA investigation? They've already disclosed more about this case than the vast majority of similar cases, the evidence is rarely made public (and that's a problem with FISA but it isn't specific to Page).

  • Ken Shultz||

    Uncertainty isn't unusual. It's the human condition. Even science happens against a backdrop of uncertainty. Scientific explanations are only meant to be believed until new evidence emerges that discredits them.

    The evidence points to the FBI investigating the Trump campaign with political motives. That we don't have all the facts is beside the point. If other evidence emerges that contradicts the obvious implications of the evidence we have, I'll be sure to consider it. Given the evidence we have, the FBI was running interference for the Clinton campaign.

  • Calidissident||

    The FBI was running interference for clinton, which is why they didn't leak the details of the investigation of trump and his associates until afternoon the election, while the FBI Director did publicly disclose the reopening of an investigation into Clinton just before the election? That really makes the most sense to you based on what we know?

  • Calidissident||

    That should say after the election. Damn autocorrect.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Even with the correction, I do not follow what you're saying.

    Did the FBI find something to leak with the warrant?

    If not, that might explain why they didn't leak anything.

    Meanwhile, the warrant was granted before the election, wasn't it?

    How could they know they wouldn't find anything until after they didn't find it?

    The question is why they went after the warrant in the first place.

    If a bank heist is unsuccessful, does that mean no one did anything wrong?

  • Ken Shultz||

    You seem to be trying to interpret the facts as if you want to support a certain hypothesis, but that's not good science.

    You're supposed to look at the facts and see what they say--even if they don't support the hypothesis you want, right?

    It's called "intellectual honesty".

  • Calidissident||

    You need to look in the mirror Ken.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You need to look in the mirror Ken."

    The warrant application cited the Steele Dossier regardless of how I feel about that, Trump, or anything else.

    The warrant application cited the Steele Dossier regardless of how you feel about anything, too.

  • Calidissident||

    Did they find anything new on Weiner's laptop? You don't have to leak proof of concrete wrongdoing to do political damage.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Did they find anything new on Weiner's laptop?

    If the government found my confidential emails on the computer of someone convicted of being a pervert on the internet, it would sure as shit be a thing.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    It just being a pervert, but being a pervert with young jailbait, and persistent about it.

  • damikesc||

    Did they find anything new on Weiner's laptop?

    That further classified info being on a laptop of somebody not remotely qualified to possess it yet nobody was punished for it qualifying as "nothing new" is sad.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""yet nobody was punished for it qualifying as "nothing new" is sad.""

    It's amazing how the FBI has gone out if it's way not to get an indictment on Hillary or anyone else for mishandling classified info from her camp. It's not how the FBI operates with anyone else. Look at how Muller is handle the Trump investigation vs. how the FBI handled Hillary's.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Did they find anything new on Weiner's laptop?""

    Aside form sex and teenager stuff?

    Remember, they were looking at Weiner's laptop due to teen sexting investigation. Not a Hillary investigation.

  • John||

    Page wasn't a part of the trump campaign when they started surveillance on him.

    That makes it look even worse. If he was no longer part of the campaign, what is the point of the surveillance other than to use it as a way to surveil any Trump people he happens to speak with.

  • Jerryskids||

    It's none of your damn business what the evidence is. Just like it's none of the oversight committees' business. Or none of your business what the science is behind the EPA's edicts. (Remember that little flap from a few news cycles back?) The Administrative State is run by professionals, by experts, by technologists, by Top Men. Top. Men. It's not your place to question the learned wisdom of your betters. It's your job to trust them.

    OK, so maybe you don't trust them. But you know who does trust them? Donald Trump trusts them, that's who. Except those one or two bad apples that that Obama villain stuck in there. It's not like the problems are a symptom of institutional rot, of a government effectively in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy too big for the executive to manage and beyond discipline by the pack of spineless shitweasels known as Congress. Trump trusts them because he thinks he's their boss and they do what he tells them to do. He's not and they don't.

  • damikesc||

    What principle of American justice is it that requires us to omit extremely relevant evidence before we can cite evidence?

    Outside of the "extremely relevant evidence" being unverifiable, paid for by political opposition, involving an "asset" the FBI cut loose for lying to them, you mean?

  • Ben_||

    The only other thing listed was media stories.

    Yeah, Reason is apparently signing off on the FBI wiretapping a Presidential campaign because of unverified, bought and paid for, campaign opposition research innuendo and unverified media stories.

    Basically, anyone can tell any kind of story and that's good enough if the FBI says it is. The 4th Amendment — and the right of the American people to elect someone the FBI doesn't approve of — are conditional now, I guess. Just like the 6th Amendment and attorney client privilege — those are only for _some_ people these days.

  • Jayburd||

    Probable cause = shit they make up after they've already listened to your phone conversations and read your e-mails, deducing that maybe, just maybe, there is something there that will keep an army of lawyers rolling in paychecks for a long, long time. The Deep State is all about paying for that Fairfax County house.

  • Jayburd||

  • Rich||

    The information released in the warrant is not going to resolve the conflict.

    "We must release *something*!"

    How about if the redactors go public with their rationales for omitting informHAHAHAHAAAA!! Damn, couldn't quite get it out!

  • DiegoF||

    Back when the Russians were a real threat to the survival of our republic, what was the awesomest educational show for the post-Sesame Street age group?

    3) ...
    2) ...
    1) ...

    Thanks!

  • Jerryskids||

    Raw
    Ung
    Raw
    Ung
    Wrong!
    The Electric Company or GTFO.

  • Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing||

    I still have a couple of the magazines around somewhere

  • Jerryskids||

    It may ultimately mean that the FISC judges are too quick to approve warrants, but that's a completely separate discussion that we're probably never going to have because it has nothing to do with Trump and everything to do with how the court operates. And we know that just last year, Trump approved the renewal and expansion of the surveillance powers of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to be used against American citizens while complaining at the exact same time that he had been snooped on.

    That people don't care about the court outside of Trump's interests (either shielding or attacking him) is a disappointment, because Page is hardly the only American whose life can be upended on the basis of secret evidence concealed from the public.

    FISC judges are a special order of angels, not given to the same rubber-stamping of warrants like lesser, mortal, judges. There was the judge who signed blank warrants for the cops for when he went on vacation and they might need a warrant and the magistrate who didn't know what a probable cause affidavit was or that it was required for a warrant request, for example. But by all means, let's talk about what the criminal justice system means for Trump rather than what it means for the thousands of people who get run through the meat-grinder without the benefit of Trump's money and fame and political connections and high-dollar lawyers.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    I kinda like what Clapper said on CNN on Thursday, "if it weren't for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today — notably, special counsel Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that, and it was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place." 7/19/18 Anderson Cooper 360

  • Ken Shultz||

    Clapper is lookin' to point the finger at anybody--so long as it isn't at him. I wouldn't quote Clapper saying that capitalism is better than communism or that our individual rights exist independently from government at this point.

    He taints the truth when he speaks it. He is a liar.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    Of course he's a liar. They are all liars. It just appears that he is having trouble keeping the lies straight.

  • Jayburd||

    They 'assessed' the dossier. But at least he gives credit where credit is due.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The FBI believed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government working on behalf of the Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election when the agency requested permission to secretly engage in surveillance on him."

    You may infer whatever beliefs in the FBI you like, but stating your mind reading as fact, and fact without evidentiary support, is Fake News.

  • Jayburd||

    Oh its just a matter of time before Page goes to jail. A few more billing cycles.

  • Scott S.||

    It's literally right there in the warrant.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Shackford, with the burn!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its also right in the warrant application that Christopher Steele, a British spy, was trying imfluence a US election and the FBI did nothing about that except cut him off from hundreds of thousands of dollars and then reengage him.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Is it Reason's editorial policy now to unquestioningly believe all statements from law enforcement?

    Just FYI you're supposed to say something like "the FBI claimed " or "the warrant argued" or if you're doing the NEWS AT 9 "'The FBI believed ... ' That's according to a warrant ...."

  • Scott S.||

    I never said I believed the FBI. Or that the FBI's claims were even factually accurate.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    You cited the warrant as fact in the very first sentence.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, you just strongly implied proper foundation:

    That there's uncertainty in the warrant doesn't invalidate it and it doesn't necessarily tag it as a "fishing expedition." The warrant is for the purpose of finding out whether Page was violating the law in the scope of his relationships with Russia.

    And since you have nothing to hide, you wouldn't mind a little FBI surveillance to exonerate you, right?

  • ThomasD||

    Behind every Shackford double standard is a single standard.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Also, did you sit and think about why the FBI might want surveillance on known (not suspected) spies?

  • Scott S.||

    Clearly responding to you was a mistake I won't make again.

  • ThomasD||

    Maybe you should answer Ken's questions.

  • MJBinAL||

    Ah, Well Scotty me lad... themistake is in treating your article as news, when it is, like all your pieces, opinion.

    It is of course correct in that you did, beginning with the headline, state your conclusion that the FBI investigation was legitimate and not politically biased.

    He is of course correct that because of the redactions and the weight placed on the Steel Dossier in the portions not redacted, this is not a well supported conclusion.

  • Horny Lizard||

    I think it's pretty obvious Trump or someone on his behalf was sending a message of cooperation to Putin when Carter Page was announced as one of Trump's top foreign policy advisers.

  • Sevo||

    "I think it's pretty obvious Trump or someone on his behalf was sending a message of cooperation to Putin when Carter Page was announced as one of Trump's top foreign policy advisers."

    Your tin foil hat is on inside-out.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Your brain fell out on your way to buy aluminum foil.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    I hear if he buys the generic brand the tariffs won't affect him.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    All aluminum is assessed a tariff based on where it comes from oitside the USA. Then companies increase the price of retail aluminum based on how inefficient the companies are. Brand name aluminum foil is more expensive than off-brand aluminum foil.

  • juris imprudent||

    C'mon Shack, how the hell can you not laugh at paragraphs marked SECRET/NOFORN that are discussing media coverage of this very secret thing we can't tell you about.

    We could save a lot of money by just buying a big, very official looking rubber stamp.

  • SIV||

    Two, the four judges who approved the warrants were all appointed by Republican presidents.

    So what? This whole shit show has been happening because Trump isn't actually a Republican. His worst enemies in government are Republicans.

  • damikesc||

    I'd mention that plenty of "Republican" judges are hardly empathetic to Republican values or are remotely conservative.

    Souter was a judge appointed by Republicans. Ditto Warren.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Hopefully this gets people talking about why a British spy, Christopher Steele, was trying to influence a US election and did not get indicted under Mueller indictment?

  • damikesc||

    And the British spy had to collude with Russian sources to get the "info", did he not?

    Then again, Mueller is trying to prosecute Manafort by giving Podesta immunity. Because...reasons.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Mueller is trying to prosecute Manafort by giving Podesta immunity. Because...reasons."'

    Funny how a lot of Hillary camp people have ended up with immunity.

  • MJBinAL||

    LOL, no, no, no, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

    Seriously, this is a continuing pattern. People who committed purgery before Congress are being treated as truth telling unimpeachable sources and given immunity to talk,

  • Don't look at me.||

    All this madness the last 2 years is really showing that we indeed have a real serious long term problem with our government. Something in the background has been going unseen for quite awhile is about to be exposed. Not many will like what they see.

    Agree or disagree?

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Agree that we have a serious problem. Agree that something in the background has been going unseen and will be exposed, at least partially. Disagree that not many will like what they see, because I believe most people will ignore it and go on with their lives.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Who wants to bet that much of the redacted info fucks up Obama, Hillary, Comey, Rosenstein, strozk, and Lisa Page?

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Me. You're giving these retards way more credit than they deserve.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "I'll take treasonous Democrats who should be in prison for $800 Alex!"

  • Sevo||

    "Kremlin spokesman: Russian ambassador met with advisers to Clinton campaign too"
    http://thehill.com/policy/international/
    323582-kremlin-spokesman-russian-
    ambassador-met-with-advisers-to-clinton

    But the FBI saw no reason to investigate.
    Hey, Tony! Please explain!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Bill Clinton also had a private meeting with aputing against the FBI's recommendation. Nothing to see there.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Edit: State Dept., not FBI. This was also during the period when the Uranium One deal was in the table circa 2010.

  • DenverJ||

    Two things:
    1. There really should be some form of evidence that the law was broke before starting an investigation
    2. Every time I see Shackford's name, I think of Dale's alias, Randy Shackleford.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The constitution requires that warrants issue only upon probable cause based on a sworn oath or affirmation describing the place to be searched and the person or items to be seized.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    1. Yes
    2. I do the same thing! I also picture ShackfordJul as Dale Gribble when I picture him typing up his articles

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Rusty

  • DenverJ||

    You're right

  • Eddy||

    "This was a hunt for evidence based on probable cause, not a full indictment."

    According to current legal dogma, probable cause is all a grand jury needs for an indictment.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "The FBI believed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government "

    No, the FBI asserted that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government. Whether they actually believed it is anybody's guess, it's not like they're shy about asserting things they don't believe.

  • ThomasD||

    Such editorial distinctions are unpossible here. At least when Trump is in the picture.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    A key point here not mentioned is that, each time they went for a FISA warrant renewal, they went to a different judge. Four times, four judges. And, there are only 3 FISA judges in the DC circuit, they had to go out of circuit at least once to accomplish that.

    Why?

    Because you're not supposed to get a renewal unless the surveillance is productive. But by going to a different judge each time, they could provide the same 'evidence' each time without the new judge noticing that there wasn't any new evidence.

    They were actively trying to keep the FISA judges from connecting the dots, noticing that there was nothing new cited in the renewal applications. It was a deliberate circumvention of the FISA rules.

  • ThomasD||

    Some abuses of power are more libertarian than others.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Sometimes investigations show that people are innocent.

    What? Never. Cites or it doesn't happen.

  • higgyb||

    When does Reason oppose the secrecy of FISC? Pretty much always. When doesn't Reason oppose the secrecy of FISC? When it hurts Trump.

    When does Reason support FISC victims? Almost always. When doesn't Reason support FISC victims? When it help Trump.

    Pattern developing here.

    Reasonable.

  • ThomasD||

    Principals vs principles.

    Worse when Trump is the principle principal.

  • higgyb||

    "And so it goes, and so it goes. And you're the only one who knows"

  • damikesc||

    If we take out the Steele dossier stuff. Just remove it outright.

    What is left to justify any spying on anybody?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    El zilcho.

  • John||

    The important thing about these pages is that it shows that the FBI didn't tell the FISA court the origin of the Steele Dossier. They didn't tell the court that it was opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign and left the impression it was a legitimate intelligence document. Worse, the FBI sited news reports, which it knew were based on the Steele Dossier, as confirmation of the claims made in the dossier. The FBI committed a serious fraud upon the court in obtaining the FISA warrant. That tells you two things. First, that the FBI is crooked as hell and willing to lie on applications for FISA warrants. The entire system is dependent upon the honesty of the FBI. The judges have no way of knowing if what they are being told is true or not. And unless there is a resulting prosecution, any lies that the FBI tells will likely never be exposed. This puts the entire system into question. Second, the FBI didn't have enough evidence to get a legal warrant against Page, because if they had such they would not have needed to lie about the dossier. Why lie to the court when you don't have to?

    The FBI lying to get a FISA warrant to spy on an associate of a major political figure should disturb anyone who cares about civil liberties or the dangers of government power. That reason seems to want to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt and seems unbothered by all this speaks for itself.

  • ThomasD||

    Trump has put Reason all-in with the Deep State. At that point what difference do civil liberties make?

  • Kristian H.||

    Donald Trumps super power is to get his opposition to act like morons in public.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Clearly, a lot of senior FBI and senior democrats belong in prison. Maybe we should just round them all up amd throw them in GitMo until this can all be sorted out.

    It could take a few decades. Oh well.

  • John||

    I will say, though, that the insistence by some that the warrant didn't have enough to justify surveillance suggests that certain Trump supporters will settle for nothing less than a full smoking gun, which would make the need for surveillance unnecessary in the first place.

    No Scott. You are just a hack. Probable cause is not a smoking gun. But it does require that the government have a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that evidence of that crime can be found in whatever the government is searching. Where is the crime here? And what evidence did the government reasonably believe it was going to find?

    The entire warrant is based upon the Steel Dossier. Don't tell me it isn't and there is all these other secret evidence in the redacted portions. We know that is bullshit because if such evidence existed, they would have needed the dossier and they certainly would have needed to lie about it. Remember, they cited the dossier without telling the court its origins and sited news articles based on the dossier as confirmation of the dossier. They didn't engage in that level of fraud because they had other good evidence. They did it because the dossier was all they had. And they lied because the dossier wasn't enough to give probable cause.

    You are embarrassing yourself here Scott, assuming that is even possible.

  • ThomasD||

    Obvious bootstrapping. But hey, bootstrapping never hurt anyone.

  • Kristian H.||

    The issue is the amount of scrutiny a application should survive. How 'trustable' suspicion is should be all that matters, but politics has clearly entered (when? more than a century ago) into the equation, and WE have probably cause to believe there was impure motive, actors AND data used to get the authorization. To the extent that fishing trip found "bad things", we should still really care about the process. Even if Trump is the target. Or Hillary, or Obama, or GWB, or WJC, or GHWB, or ... (you get my point).

  • John||

    You are exactly right Kristian. It doesn't matter who the target was. You either believe in the 4th Amendment or you don't. And sadly Shackford really doesn't believe in the 4th Amendment. If the subject is someone he doesn't like, he is fine with the process being thrown and people's rights violated just so long as they are "bad people" in his view.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Also, you either believe that secret evidence and courts are ok, or you don't. I seriously doubt the founding fathers believed in them.

  • Michael Cook||

    My tactic of choice as a red state Trump Supporter is to fight fire with fire. Trump needs to fire Jeff Sessions and at least get enough control over the Justice Department to compel the FBI to go to a FISA court for warrants to surveil two Americans who have a lot of business ties with some very fuzzy Ukrainian/Russian entities.

    The Americans I have in mind are Hunter Biden and Tony Podesta (brother of John, a political pooh bah whom was revealed by his hideous cyber-security practices to really, really be anti-Catholic.)

    When President Trump was recently in Helsinki, he complained to Angela Merkel about her plans to buy massive amounts of Russian natural gas which will flow to Germany through a new pipeline being constructed AROUND other NATO allies. Germans could use CNG from the USA instead, Trump reminded Angela.

    However, Germany already has a huge contract buying natural gas from Burisma, a Ukrainian company with offices in Cyprus and Kiev. The gas fields that produce this gas are in the far east of Ukraine, in the regions controlled by elements loyal to Russia. Just who owns and controls Burisma currently is extremely hard to sort out. Hunter Biden is on the board of directors and Tony Podesta's name may not be unknown in all the dummy corporations that deep investigation might reveal.

    Mueller (that heroic Russia prober) has granted immunity to Tony Podesta, BTW.

    Yes, unmask these two Americans at once (and simultaneously everybody they have been talking to!)

  • ThomasD||

    Plenty of Iranian contacts made in the Clinton camp and the DNC. Those need similar scrutiny too.

    I mean, Shack should be fine with that, right?

    Or would they send in Suave to screech about the hypocrisy of treating people in kind?

  • ThomasD||

    And, in the process of these "intelligence operations" be sure to immunize every ( R) you come across.

    Because that's the way justice works.

  • JRuss||

    Trump the pathological proven serial liar knows little about the law.and Constitution and understands less. But what he knows least about is, telling the truth.

  • John||

    That totally makes it okay for the FBI to abuse FISA and lie to the courts. It is all about if the person whose rights are being violated is a good person or not I guess. Good luck with that dipshit.

  • PaulS||

    Don't lose sight of the forest - The FBI used the steel dossier to obtain a warrant on Page, very very little of it (that I've seen) refers to Page....if they handed the whole thing to a judge right before the election then what do you think he/she thought the goal was? What would you have thought if you were the Judge and the FBI said we think this stuff is true? You would have known what they really wanted. Think of the stakes of denying the application. Wouldn't you have let them "go fishing" around the edge of the pond?

  • A Person||

    "This was a hunt for evidence based on probable cause, not a full indictment. "

    This statement is misleading. Like many articles, it tosses the phrase probable cause around as if it is the standard use we are familiar with. If there was probable cause that a crime had been committed (typical use of the term), a regular search warrant could have been obtained from a regular judge. FISA only requires probable cause that the person is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power. It's a backdoor around the obligation to show there was likely a crime committed.

  • Country John||

    Would the FBI have had any interest in Carter Page if he had not (just previously) been a Trump campaign aide? Or did they pursue him to open a trail to Trump? What bothers me is the FBI stonewalling the Clinton/DNC origins of the Steele dossier before the Court. And what connection did Page have with the Steele dossier?

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