“Thanks in large part to the work of the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, the Court has received notice of material misstatements and omissions in the applications filed by the government in the above-captioned dockets,” the letter from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) stated. “DOJ assesses that with respect to the applications in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 17-679, ‘if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter] Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.’”
The Department of Justice made the admission in response to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report that found 17 significant errors and omissions when the FBI surveilled Page for as long as a year. Horowitz’s lengthy report had critical words for the Justice Department and FBI but didn’t determine the validity of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications.
Two of Page’s surveillance warrants “were not valid,” the court wrote. “The government apparently does not take a position on the validity of the authorizations” of two other warrants, but it “intends to sequester information acquired pursuant to those dockets in the same manner as information acquired pursuant to the subsequent dockets.”
“The government has not described what steps are involved-in-such sequestration or when it will be completed. It has, however, undertaken to ‘provide an update to the Court when the FBI completes the sequestration’ and to ‘update the Court on the disposition of the sequestered collection at the conclusion of related investigations and any litigation.’ To date, no such update has been received,” according to the letter.
Horowitz’s office in December revealed not only “significant errors and omissions,” but it noted concealment of information from the FISA court while using allegations from the controversial unverified dossier created by former UK spy Christopher Steele to use against Page. Steele had worked for Fusion GPS, a firm hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 election.
In a statement to Fox News on Thursday, Page said the “court filing represents another step on the road to recovery for America’s deeply damaged judicial system. I hope that this latest admission of guilt for these civil rights abuses by the Justice Department marks continued progress towards restoring justice and remedying these reputationally ruinous injuries.”
The letter from the court was signed and issued on Jan. 7, 2020, but it wasn’t declassified and released until Thursday.