Note: Wolfe was only charged with lying to the FBI. Wolfe was not charged with leaking any information. For a timeline and details on Wolfe see:
Unexpectedly, the FISA Applications appear to be direct copies of the FISA Court’s documents – not DOJ versions.
They contain the FBI’s Application along with accompanying signature sections – including those of the signing FISA Judge. There are also Court Clerk certification stamps from March 17, 2017.
I don’t know who authorized the FISA release. I suspect it was DNI Dan Coates. And I don’t think it had anything to do with a FOIA Request – although that may have provided convenient cover for doing so.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) viewed the Page FISA Applications on March 17, 2017:
On or about March 17, 2017, the Classified Document was transported to the Senate Select Committee. The Classified Document contained both SECRET and TOP SECRET information, including SECRET-level information regarding the identity and activities of the individual referred to in this Indictment as Male-1. As Director of Security, Wolfe received, maintained, and managed the Classified Document on behalf of the SSCI.
SSCI members weren’t the only Senators to see the Page FISA Application:
On March 15, 2017 Comey briefed Grassley & Feinstein of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From the Grassley Memo:
In response to the Committee’s inquiries, the Chairman [Grassley] and Ranking Member [Feinstein] received a briefing on March 15, 2017, from then-Director James B. Comey, Jr. That briefing addressed the Russia investigation, the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, and the FBI’s reliance on Mr. Steele’s dossier in two applications it filed for surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
On March 17, 2017 – The Carter Page FISA documents were provided to Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein. From the Grassley Memo:
On March 17, 2017, the Chairman and Ranking Member were provided copies of the two relevant FISA applications, which requested authority to conduct surveillance of Carter Page. Both relied heavily on Mr. Steele’s dossier claims, and both applications were granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
The two relevant FISA Applications would be the October 2016 and January 2017 FISA Applications. The second (April 2017) and third (June 2017) FISA Renewals did not exist at this point,
If both FISA Applications were furnished to Grassley and Feinstein it’s an easy bet both were furnished to the SSCI.
The Original Page FISA Application is 83 pages long. Including one final signatory page (h/t the Conservative Treehouse).
It seems more than plausible that Wolfe took pictures of the Original FISA Application and sent them by text to Watkins.
Perhaps even more important:
What Wolfe sent was almost certainly an unredacted version.
In the public version of the Original Page FISA Application there are 37 fully redacted pages (out of 83 total). Several other pages have redactions for all but the header. There are only two pages in the entire document that contain no redactions.
Why would Wolfe bother to send 37 pages of complete redactions.
There are also strong indications that Grassley, and by extension the SSCI, saw unredacted versions of the Page FISA Applications.
The Grassley Memo discusses the Page FISA Applications at length and nowhere does Grassley mention any redactions.
In Footnote 7, Grassley does note what he has been unable to view:
The FBI has failed to provide the Committee the 1023s documenting all of Mr. Steele’s statements to the FBI, so the Committee is relying on the accuracy of the FBI’s representations to the FISC regarding those statements.
If Grassley saw an unredacted version of the Page FISA Application, so did the SSCI. As did James Wolfe who was responsible for taking delivery of the documents on behalf of the SSCI.
On April 3, 2017, Watkins published an article in Buzzfeed, A Former Trump Advisor Met with a Russian Spy. In the article Watkins discloses that Carter Page is “Male-1” in a related Court Filing.
The Court Filing, which is 26 pages in length, is included in the Buzzfeed article. Nowhere in the Court Filing is Carter Page named.
But Page is named, referenced and linked to the Court Filing in the FISA Application delivered to the SSCI.
It seems clear where she got her information.
Of some import is this. The Original FISA Application does not delineate itself as the originating document.
Original October 2017 Application:
January 2017 Renewal:
If one was to read only the Original FISA Application (without specific IC knowledge) there would be no way of determining this was a first-time application unless you were told this was the case.
The original FISA Application is 83 pages including a final signatory page. 82 texts…
Which might explain an April 11, 2017 Washington Post article, FBI Obtained FISA Warrant to Monitor Former Trump Adviser Carter Page by Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous:
The FBI obtained a secret court order in October 2016 to monitor the communications of a former adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.
The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.
In this article, firm existence of the Page October 2016 FISA warrant was first established.
At the time of reporting, the article stated the FISA Warrant was obtained in the summer of 2016 – when Page was still part of the Trump Campaign. The article would later be updated as noted below:
Correction: This story has been updated to note that government investigators obtained a FISA warrant on Carter Page in October 2016, not the summer of 2016 as originally reported, and that in October 2016 Page was no longer an adviser to the Trump campaign.
The Washington Post, along with others, had been reporting of a FISA Warrant in June/July 2016. There were reportedly two FISA attempts made in June/July. They were denied.
My guess is Barrett and the other reporters assumed FISA Surveillance began on Page in the summer of ’16 and initially failed to appreciate they were holding the Original FISA.
It wasn’t just Barrett’s article that got it wrong. Later reporting cited October 19th – not October 21st – as the date of the Original FISA Warrant.
From the Conservative Treehouse:
- Daily Kos: used October 19th [See under item #7] – “the FISA warrant was granted on October 19, 2016 after he left the Trump campaign.”
- WaPo: used October 19th [See Paragraph #7] – “it was issued on Oct. 19, 2016, according to reporting this week from The Post.”
- WaPo: used October 19th, again, [See Paragraph #8] – “an Oct. 19, 2016, application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”
All articles – including the Washington Post – cite Washington Post reporting.
The use of October 19th is interesting. Where did that date originate from.
Full dates are not provided in the original FISA Application or subsequent renewals. The only complete date we have is the Court Clerk’s March 17, 2017 handwritten initials certifying a “true and correct copy of the original”.
We know what the actual dates should be from a February 28, 2018 Grassley letter to Inspector General Horowitz:
- October 21, 2016 – Initial FISA Application Grant.
- January 12, 2017 – First FISA Renewal. 84 days later – counting the end date.
- April 7, 2017 – Second FISA Renewal. 85 days later – counting end date.
- June 29, 2017 – Third FISA Renewal. 83 days later – counting end date.
Note: Grassley actually references the Washington Post article in his letter to IG Horowitz:
Who leaked classified information about the Page FISA warrant to the Washington Post while the warrant was active? Why?
In Footnote 8, Grassley directly cites the April 11, 2017 WAPO article.
So where did the Washington Post get October 19th.
An unredacted version of the Original FISA may prove to be interesting. What date lurks behind the redaction in the October FISA Application. Was a trap set in advance of the March 17, 2017 viewing.
There may have been more than one trap. We’ll touch on that in a bit.
If Wolfe, Watkins, Barrett and the two other reporters Wolfe leaked to (probably Sotomayor & Ross) had the Original FISA documents in their possession since March 17, 2017 – who else have they shown them to…
Has the entire media set had unredacted copies of the first two FISA Applications in their possession – selectively mining them for stories and leaks.
Nunes has been asking President Trump to declassify the FISA Documents. As he noted on Tucker Carlson:
There is a National Security reason to make sure the American public sees this in its entirety because this is a phony FISA.
The DOJ and FBI put something together that is completely fraudulent in order to spy on an American citizen.
If Nunes is convinced complete redaction will make the fraud obvious to all, consider what the media may have been doing this entire time.
Publishing damaging details from the FISA while having full access to the truth.
Two other notes of interest. Feinstein saw the FISA documents along with Grassley on March 17, 2017.
Feinstein’s former staffer happens to be this guy (from A Listing of Paticipants):
Daniel Jones – Heads Penn Quarter Group. Ex-Feinstein Staffer. PQG funded by 7-10 Silicon Valley Billionaires – $50 million. PQG Hired Steele and Fusion post-election to continue opposition research into President Trump. Linked to lobbyist (Adam Waldman) for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska who was offering Warner access to Dossier author Christopher Steele (texts here). Waldman notes that Jones was speaking w/Senator Mark Warner in texts.
Jones spoke with the FBI on March 28, 2017. He reportedly told the FBI the Penn Quarter Group had retained the services of Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS.
Why would Jones be speaking to the FBI at exactly this critical juncture. Did Steele and Fusion see the FISA Application as well. The timing appears a tad…suspicious.
Wolfe currently appears to be fighting the charges of lying to the FBI. Which is strange because the DOJ appears to have him dead to rights.
On July 27 2018, the WSJ reported that attorneys for Wolfe sent letters to all 15 senators on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, notifying them that their testimony may be sought as part of Wolfe’s defense:
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been notified they may be asked for testimony as part of the criminal trial of a veteran Senate staffer accused of lying to the FBI while working for the panel.
If senators declined to appear voluntarily for either a deposition or at trial, they could be subpoenaed. That action that could spark a legal battle over a constitutional provision that gives lawmakers certain immunity and privilege for actions undertaken as part of their official duties, as well as over how much national security information can be disclosed in open court.
Three possible reasons for this lawsuit:
- Wolfe: “If I’m going down, so is everybody else.”
- A strategically crafted lawsuit. One that is intentionally designed to trigger a protracted legal battle over the constitutional provision of immunity for lawmakers. Consider the time that could be consumed…
- Wolfe is cooperating. The lawsuit is designed to pull in ensnared Senators on the SSCI.
As to why the DOJ has only charged Wolfe with one count of lying to the FBI, I offer three scenarios:
- Wolfe has agreed to cooperate in exchange for a lesser charge of lying to the FBI.
- DOJ is attempting to provide a certain layer of protection for the guilty parties – perhaps with an eye to any involved Senators.
- DOJ is trying to protect the Institutions. Stop the illegal activity and prevent it from happening in the future. But keep details – and damage – as minimal as possible.
One last issue – just because it’s bothering me.
The original FISA Court Clerk stamp is on page one with the date “2016 October [redacted]”. A March 17, 2017 Court Clerk stamp with handwritten initials certifying a “true and correct copy of the original” resides on pages 54, 63, 65, 66 and 83:
All five of the Court Clerk’s certification stamps are unredacted in the Original (October 2016) FISA Application.
In the first (January 2017) FISA Renewal, the Court Clerk’s certification can be found on pages 150, 159, 161, 162 and 181. The certification stamps are unredacted and essentially identical to those found in the Original FISA Application.
With the notable exception of page 181.
This is the final page – signed by FISA Judge Michael Mosman:
The stamp is entirely different from the ones preceding it and has the name, date and initials fully redacted. This new version is also found in the second and third FISA Renewals.
Note: The second and third FISA Renewals occurred after the March 17, 2017 viewing by Wolfe and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. These documents did not exist on March 17, 2017.
In the second (April 2017) FISA Renewal, the Court Clerk’s certification can be found only on the final page (page 291). This is the page signed by FISA Judge Anne Conway.
In the third (June 2017) FISA Renewal, the Court Clerk’s certification can be found only on the final page (page 412). It is slightly different but redacted in similar fashion. This is the page signed by FISA Judge Raymond Dearie.
Why are certification stamps by LeeAnn Flynn Hall only on the Original FISA Application and – with the exception on page 181 – the first FISA Renewal. Why are dates associated with her stamp unredacted.
I hesitate to make too much of this but the differing certification stamps and redaction treatment feel like some sort of marker.
Recall, it was DNI Dan Coats who unsealed Judge Collyer’s April 26, 2017 FISA Court Ruling that opened a window into ongoing FISA Abuse. That ruling bore LeeAnn Flynn Hall’s stamp.
Some basic details from the FISA Documents:
The Original FISA Application is 83 pages long. 37 pages are fully redacted. Several other pages have redactions for all but the header.
It was signed by FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer (page 83), unknown FBI Supervisory Special Agent (page 54), FBI Director James Comey (page 63), Deputy AG Sally Yates (page 65) & fully redacted DOJ representative (page 66).
The first FISA Renewal (January 2017) is 98 pages long. It begins on page 84 and ends on page 181. 49 pages are fully redacted.
It was signed by FISA Judge Michael Mosman (page 181), unknown FBI Supervisory Special Agent (page 150), FBI Director James Comey (page 159), Deputy AG Sally Yates (page 161) & unknown DOJ Attorney (page 162).
The second FISA Renewal (April 2017) is 110 pages long. It begins on page 182 and ends on page 291.
It was signed by FISA Judge Anne Conway (page 291), unknown FBI Supervisory Special Agent (page 260), FBI Director James Comey (page 269), Acting AG Dana Boente (page 271) & fully redacted DOJ representative (page 272).
The third and final FISA Renewal (June 2017) is 121 pages long. It begins on page 292 and ends on page 412.
It was signed by FISA Judge Raymond Dearie (page 412), unknown FBI Supervisory Special Agent (page 380), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (page 389), Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein (page 391) & unknown DOJ Attorney (page 392).
older post Giuliani, 183 Recordings & the Media