Chuck Ross, DCNF
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Friday identified 17 FBI and Justice Department employees he wants to interview regarding the FBI’s surveillance abuses against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Graham identified several FBI agents who helped put together applications for surveillance warrants submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in order to spy on Page.
The agents are not identified by name. Instead, Graham refers to them by titles they are given in the Dec. 9 Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report that said the FBI misled the FISC in order to obtain warrants against Page.
Included on the list are Case Agent 1, Case Agent 2, Case Agent 3, Supervisory Agent 1, Supervisory Agent 2, Supervisory Agent 3, and several other agents discussed in the IG report.
The IG report was particularly harsh towards Case Agent 1, who played a key role in several aspects of the Trump-Russia probe.
“Case Agent 1 was primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions in the FISA applications,” the IG report said.
The agent, who worked out of the New York field office, drafted the initial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications against Page. He was also the FBI handler for Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor who worked as a confidential human source for the bureau during Crossfire Hurricane. Halper secretly recorded Page and former Trump aide George Papadopoulos as part of the investigation. The IG report faulted FBI agents for failing to disclose exculpatory information gathered from Halper during those meetings.
Case Agent 1 was also involved in FBI interviews with the main source for former British spy Christopher Steele. The FBI extensively cited information from Steele in its FISA applications to make the case that Page was a covert Russian agent.
The IG report said the FBI failed to corroborate those allegations before using information from Steele, who was working at the time for the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.
The Steele source told the FBI that the ex-spy misrepresented or embellished information attributed to him in the dossier. The IG report said the FBI did not disclose that inconsistency in the final two FISA applications.
In his letter Friday, Graham said he wants to interview Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official who served as a backchannel between the FBI and Steele.
Graham also wants to talk to Dana Boente, who currently serves as FBI general counsel. Boente signed one of the four Page warrants when he served as acting attorney general at the Justice Department in 2017.
Graham also said in the letter that the committee will soon begin contacting former FBI and Justice Department officials as part of its inquiry.
The South Carolina Republican has said that he wants to hold hearings for former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, and former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein to ask about their roles in approving surveillance warrants against Page.
Graham’s wish list also includes an FBI staff operations specialist, a unit chief in the FBI’s office of general counsel, an intelligence section chief, and a deputy section chief in the Justice Department’s national security division.
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