It was revealed in court filings this past Friday that the FBI used a number of confidential informants, including some who were paid for their information, during its investigation into former campaign adviser Carter Page.
President Trump has long contended that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign and is now demanding that the Justice Department investigate the matter.
The FBI calls them confidential informants (CHH) but Trump calls them spies. Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal agreed with the President in her May 10 column when she wrote:
“When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign. This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting.”
David M. Hardy, the head of the FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) wrote in the recently released court papers that the FBI protected the identities of “other confidential sources” because the information it was looking for was essential to their Russia investigation.
Department of Justice attorneys were forced to submit the filings due to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for the FBI’s four applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Carter Page.
The DOJ released the documents of June 20 but they were heavily redacted. That prompted Brad Heath of USA Today to sue for release of full copies of the documents. Hardy revealed in his declaration that the CHHs were in addition to Christopher Steele, author of his infamous anti-Trump dossier.
“This includes nonpublic information about and provided by Christopher Steele, as well as information about and provided by other confidential sources, all of whom were provided express assurances of confidentiality,” wrote Hardy.
Steele, referred to as Source #1, met on several occasions with FBI agents during the 2016 campaign and the bureau used his dossier as its reason for applying for FISA warrants to spy on Page and the Trump campaign.
Though the FBI’s use of multiple confidential sources comes as no surprise, the disclosure is the first time that the government has admitted to using sources other than Steele. His work paid for by the Democrat-connected research firm, Fusion GPS, became the basis of using other informants and the FISA Courts to fuel Robert Mueller’s investigation of supposed Trump/Russia collusion.
Steele alleges in his dossier that Page served as the Trump campaign’s back channel to the Kremlin. Page, however, adamantly denies the allegations and no information has been found to support Steele’s claim.
The FBI’s use of multiple confidential sources is not a surprise, but the disclosure is the first time that the government has acknowledged using sources beyond Steele, who was hired to investigate Trump by the Democrat-connected opposition research firm, Fusion GPS.
Stefan Halper, another FBI informant, also met with Page, but the government has yet to officially acknowledge his part in the investigation.
The DOJ filings show that “multiple” informants were used beyond Harper and Steele without shedding light on how many were used.
“The FBI protected specific information about payments to CHSs on two pages of each FISA application,” the declaration reads.
According to news reports, FBI agents offered to pay Steele $50,000 to continue his investigation into Trump. However, when Steele had unauthorized contacts with the press the deal fell apart. The FBI severed ties with Steele on Nov. 1, 2016. Although, DOJ official Bruce Ohr continued to serve as the FBI’s unofficial back channel to Steele until May 2017.
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy appeared on Fox and Friends last week. In part he said, “There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.” That’s the line Trump quoted in a tweet declaring the possible spying was “bigger than Watergate.”
Ken Dilanian of NBC News wrote last May, “President Donald Trump’s allegation that the Department of Justice put a “spy” inside his presidential campaign to frame him is being widely dismissed as absurd by current and former law enforcement officials.”
Now that the real story is out it’s probably too much to hope for that NBC will retract its story. One that isn’t so “absurd” now as they would have had us believe.