DOJ internal watchdog launches probe of Carter Page surveillance

Posted on: March 28th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department’s internal watchdog has launched an investigation into what sources say is the FBI’s surveillance of Trump associate Carter Page just weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

“[T]he Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” inspector general Michael Horowitz said in a statement Wednesday.

While Horowitz’s statement does not mention Page by name, sources have confirmed the inspector general’s probe is tied to Page, a New York-based business consultant who volunteered for the Trump campaign.

For months, Republicans have complained that the court-approved surveillance of Page was based on “fake” information laid out in the controversial “dossier” authored by former British spy Chris Steele. The dossier alleged ties between Trump, his aides, and Russian operatives.

However, by the time FBI agents obtained approval from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page’s communications, Page was already on the FBI’s radar after being targeted for recruitment as an intelligence source by Russian spies, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

Page has denied any wrongdoing.

As part of its new investigation, “the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source,” Horowitz said in his statement Wednesday. “Additionally, the OIG will review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.”

The issue came to a head earlier this year when Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released dueling memoranda about the circumstances behind the surveillance of Page.

Republicans claimed their memo illustrated “abuses” at the FBI and Justice Department, but Democrats insisted such claims were unfair and based on limited information.

Last week, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee announced the committee had issued a subpoena to the Justice Department, seeking documents related to “potential abused of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” and a series of other controversial matters.

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