Federal law enforcement agents last summer obtained a secret warrant to monitor the communications of a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday evening that the Federal Bureau of Investigation acquired a warrant to monitor the communications of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, after the bureau demonstrated that it had probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.
A member of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy group, Page is said to be the only American to be targeted by a FISA warrant in 2016 as part of the U.S. authorities investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.
The FBI’s investigation was disclosed last month by Director James Comey during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. That effort includes investigating the “nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” he said.
The revelation that Page was targeted with surveillance under a FISA warrant represents the strongest evidence yet that the FBI believes there was a linked between the Trump campaign and Kremlin efforts to disrupt the election.
For the uninitiated, here is what the government must have shown in order to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page as agent of foreign power. pic.twitter.com/Y0CuKBJnwM
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) April 12, 2017
According to the Post, the warrant, which requires re-authorization every 90 days, was renewed more than once.
Page, who traveled to Moscow last year to deliver a speech critical of U.S. policy, has adamantly denied colluding with Russian intelligence. “This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page told the paper, drawing a comparison between himself and Martin Luther King Jr., who was maliciously targeted by the FBI in the 1960s.
“I have nothing to hide,” said Page, who in February described himself as a “junior member” of the Trump campaign.
According to a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, while in Moscow last year, Page met with Igor Sechin, chief executive of the government-owned energy company Rosneft. Sechin is also described as a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Page has denied ever meeting Sechin, though he says he briefly met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
Page first popped up on the FBI’s radar roughly four years ago during an investigation into Victor Podobnyy, who was ultimately charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent acting on behalf of Moscow. Podobnyy was secretly recorded commenting on Page’s “enthusiasm” and saying he planned to use Page to acquire documents.
Page has denied doing anything illegal and says he helped prosecutors in their case against Evgeny Buryakov, a Russian spy arrested in New York City in early 2015.