US officials now say that the FBI and Department of Justice did obtain a secret court order last summer, allowing them to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, then a member of Donald Trump’s campaign team, according to the Washington Post.
The revelations seem to suggest Heat Street‘s report, detailing an FBI FISA request targeting people within Donald Trump’s circle are true, though the warrant the FBI eventually obtained was for more general surveillance of Page, specifically.
Allegations came to light in November that FBI counter-intelligence officials had enough evidence to convince the FISA court to allow them to keep watch on a server believed to be communicating with Russian officials.
They were particularly alarmed, Heat Street‘s report said, that Carter Page—then a policy adviser on Trump’s campaign—had made a trip to Moscow just days before hackers broke into a DNC server and stole thousands of emails, and were concerned that Page was acting as an agent of Russia’s government embedded within the campaign.
As WaPo points out, Page hasn’t been charged or convicted of any crime—yet—and Newsweek added that Page was only on the campaign for a few weeks, during which time he managed to make everyone feel uncomfortable (at least, that’s how they remember it now that Page is under suspicion).
Counterintelligence surveillance on Page started in earnest in July. He left the campaign in August.
The FBI, though, was first weirded out by him back in 2015, when he allegedly met with a known Russian spy in New York City. Once he began working with Trump, officials seem to suggest the FBI thought he might be part of a larger plan on the part of the Russians to sway the election towards the New York real estate mogul.
Things got worse, according to the report, when Page paid a visit to Moscow, where he delivered a speech harshly critical of the US’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and then, according to the FBI, met with a Putin confidante where he “exchanged ideas.”
Page denies that he was at all involved in any conspiracy to disrupt the American Presidential election, but its clear, at least that the FBI thought he might be the key to uncovering a Putin plot if one did exist. He was the only Trump associate to be targeted for surveillance, the FBI says, though if Rep. Devin Nunes’s reports are correct, others may have been picked up in unrelated investigations.