The FBI attorney whose altering of an email led to an egregious error in the surveillance warrant application on Trump 2016 presidential campaign associate Carter Page is no longer with the bureau, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Wray made the revelation in an interview with Fox News aired on June 24.
While he isn’t identified by name in the report by the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG), Kevin Clinesmith was the FBI attorney who altered an email about Page’s association with the CIA by injecting “not a source” into the text, making it appear as though Page wasn’t affiliated with the spy agency.
Clinesmith’s alteration resulted in one of the “17 significant errors and omissions” identified by the IG in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications on Page.
“And that individual no longer works with the FBI, and I don’t want to get out in front of the Durham investigation,” Wray said, referring to the criminal inquiry being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is looking into potential criminality tied to Crossfire Hurricane, the codename for the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign.
After learning of Clinesmith’s email forgery, a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered the FBI to identify all of the surveillance applications Clinesmith was involved in. The court also barred Clinesmith from participating in the preparation of future FISA applications.
While Clinesmith wasn’t named in the IG report on the Page FISA applications, Sen. Lindsey Graham identified him in December last year as the lawyer behind the altered email. Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee authorized Graham, the panel’s chairman, to issue a subpoena for Clinesmith’s testimony.
In addition to working as the attorney on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Clinesmith worked on the probe into Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server to conduct government business during her tenure as secretary of state.
Clinesmith’s work on the Clinton probe earned him an entire section in a separate IG report on the Clinton investigation, which found that he sent numerous politically charged messages ridiculing then-candidate Trump. After Trump was elected in November 2016, Clinesmith wrote to another attorney, “I’m just devastated.”
“I am so stressed about what I could have done differently,” Clinesmith wrote. “I just can’t imagine the systematic disassembly of the progress we made over the last 8 years. ACA [the Affordable Care Act] is gone. Who knows if the rhetoric about deporting people, walls, and crap is true. I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost, they have to deal with an incumbent in 4 years. We have to fight this again. Also Pence is stupid.”
These and other messages led to Clinesmith’s removal from the special counsel inquiry by Robert Mueller, who took over the Crossfire Hurricane probe in May 2017.
Clinesmith was one of several FBI personnel present during the interview of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, according to a transcript of Papadopoulos’s congressional deposition.
Clinesmith was among a group of key FBI officials who displayed intense political bias while working on two of the FBI’s most consequential investigations in years, involving the two top presidential candidates in the 2016 election, Clinton and Trump. The bias, without exception, was in favor of Clinton and against Trump.
The inspector general, Michael Horowitz, ultimately concluded that while the bias clouded the two investigations, his team couldn’t find evidence that the bias contributed to any investigative decisions. Horowitz found it inexplicable how so many errors could have been made by teams of hand-selected people working on the most significant FBI probe at the time.
The FBI didn’t respond to a request by The Epoch Times to clarify whether Clinesmith resigned or was fired.
Clinesmith’s DC Bar license is in good standing with no disciplinary actions on file, according to the DC Bar website.