Carter Page Files $75 Million Lawsuit Against The FBI, Comey, McCabe, and Others

Former Trump campaign aide Carter Page on Friday has filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and former high-ranking officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, and Andrew McCabe. The complaint includes eight claims that range from violations to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Federal Tort Claims Act, a Bivens claim, and Privacy Act. It is very well written, but it will be challenging given the discretionary authority of justice officials in some of these actions. For full disclosure, I previously discussed Page’s case with both Page and his counsel (particularly after a column on his case). I have been a critic of his targeting for years and have spoken with Page on the investigation.  I view Page as a victim of an abusive federal investigation and ideally he should be afforded relief for his treatment. Federal case law however presents barriers for people in his position. If he were to prevail, it could create important precedent protecting citizens and civil liberties for the future.

The defendants are the following:

JAMES COMEY

ANDREW McCABE

KEVIN CLINESMITH

PETER STRZOK

LISA PAGE

JOE PIENTKA III

STEPHEN SOMMA

BRIAN J. AUTEN

The most promising could be Clinesmith who has already admitted to committing a criminal act in submitting false information to the FISA court. That creates a different element than many cases where citizens challenge abuse surveillance.

Here are the counts:

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT (OCTOBER 21, 2016 FISA WARRANT – ORIGINAL) (Against All Individual Defendants)

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT (JANUARY 12th, 2017 FISA WARRANT – FIRST RENEWAL) (Against All Individual Defendants)

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT (APRIL 7th, 2017 FISA WARRANT – SECOND RENEWAL) (Against All Individual Defendants)

FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT (JUNE 29th, 2017 FISA WARRANT – THIRD RENEWAL) (Against All Individual Defendants)

FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT (Against Defendant United States of America)

SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION BIVENS CLAIM (Against All Individual Defendants)

SEVENTH CAUSE OF ACTION PRIVACY ACT (Failure to Amend) (Against Defendant Department of Justice)

EIGHTH CAUSE OF ACTION PRIVACY ACT (Unlawful Disclosures) (Against Defendants Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation)

The litigation over “misleading” affidavits or surveillance applications is very difficult in the federal courts. However, Page is alleging false representations as well as intentional leaks to the media. For example, Lisa Page is alleged to have “facilitated the leaks of information about the FBI’s FISA warrants regarding Dr. Page.” Such allegations must be treated as true for the purposes of a motion to dismiss. The question is whether, if proven true, there would be a claim against Lisa Page. Moreover, by including figures like Page, the team can pursue their knowledge under oath. Despite her controversial actions, Lisa Page was hired by NBC/MSNBC as a legal analyst. Indeed, the complaint also includes CNN legal analyst Andrew McCabe.

Somma is also an interesting addition since, while Clinesmith was prosecuted, Somma is also alleged to have failed to reveal Carter Page’s work with American intelligence. The complaint alleges:

167. Somma also received information from the CIA in August 2016 that Page had a longstanding relationship with that agency. He did not fully and accurately divulge that information to others at the FBI.

168. When Somma was explicitly asked in late September 2016 by a DOJ attorney assisting on the FISA application about Page’s prior relationship with the CIA, Somma did not accurately describe the nature and extent of the information the FBI received from the CIA. Somma Case 1:20-cv-03460 Document 1 Filed 11/27/20 Page 37 of 59 38 advised the attorney that Dr. Page did meet with a U.S. government agency, but that the interactions took place while Dr. Page was in Moscow (which was between 2004 and 2007) and were “outside scope.” Based upon this response, the attorney did not include information about Dr. Page’s prior interactions with the CIA in the application for the First FISA Warrant.

169. In seeking the First FISA Warrant, Somma mischaracterized the extent to which the FBI had previously relied on CHS Steele’s prior reporting. This resulted from his failure to seek review and approval from Steele’s handling agent, as the Woods Procedures required.

170. Somma also sought to hide from DOJ attorneys the political bias that made Steele’s reports about Dr. Page suspect. Stuart Evans asked whether Steele “is affiliated with either campaign and/or has contributed to either campaign.” On October 7, 2016, the DOJ Unit Chief this question was emailed to the Crossfire Hurricane team. On October 10, 2016, Somma responded but addressed only the second part of the question, stating that Steele was most likely a foreign national and therefore unable to contribute to either campaign. Because he did not fully address the question, the Unit Chief asked him again, on October 11, 2016, whether Steele was affiliated with and/or had contributed to either presidential campaign. Again, Somma answered only the second part of the question, confirming that Steele had not contributed to any campaign and was not a U.S. person. Evans was frustrated and annoyed by this answer and asked the question a third time. At that point, the FBI finally responded that they assumed Steele had been paid to develop political opposition research.

Again, such allegations are difficult to lay an actionable foundation, but the key will be the motion of dismiss and whether Page can get to discovery.  Discovery itself will be challenging due to privilege assertions but it could expose additional information as well as statements under oath in deposition. Moreover, much information that would normally be held within the Justice Department has already been made public due to the prior investigations. The Complaint does an able job in laying out the existing record.

As I have previously written, the media gleefully detailed leaks and allegations portraying Page as a Russian agent. There has been little comparative coverage on his abusive treatment.

Throughout Operation Crossfire Hurricane, evidence continued to flow into the FBI that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous dossier, was unreliable and working against the election of Trump. Not only was he known to be trying to get this false information to the press, but evidence mounted that he misrepresented sources and stated false information. While it took long, someone at the Justice Department finally decided to act on the FISA matter regarding Page. The official in charge of FISA applications, Kevin Clinesmith, was told to ask the CIA again about whether Page had been working for the agency. He was again told that Page in fact was, yet Clinesmith allegedly changed the CIA response to describe Page as not working for it. He is now being criminally referred by Horowitz for falsifying that information.

Investigators also found an array of messages against Trump on the social media accounts of Clinesmith, including one declaring “vive le resistance” after Trump won. Meanwhile, throughout this period, the FBI was leaking aplenty but no one leaked the Page was actually a CIA asset. Instead, he was left to twist slowly in the wind. Media reports all but convicted Page of being a Russian spy. Evan Hurst wrote about him last year asking, “Why the hell are Republicans dying on this hill to defend Carter Page,” whom Hurst described, in all caps, as “a literal actual Russian intelligence asset.”

Natasha Bertand later wondered why anyone would question the case against Page. After all, she wrote, Senator Mark Warner, who is ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had warned reporters to “be careful what you wish for” and one of his aides told her that is is “simply impossible to review the documents” on Page and conclude anything other than that the FBI “had ample reason” to investigate him. Her article was published long after the FBI had been told that Page was working with the CIA, but many other stories ran with similar comments from senators suggesting that anyone defending Page would be ridiculed after the release of some damning evidence. Mueller and Horowitz have now confirmed that there was never such evidence showing Page was a Russian asset. Indeed, the evidence showed he was an American asset.

Injuries in our constitutional system are supposed to have forms of relief, particularly when we are victimized by our own government. Thus, while this is an uphill climb, I hope Page makes it not just for himself but the rest of us.

Here is the complaint: Carter Page Complaint

62 thoughts on “Carter Page Files $75 Million Lawsuit Against The FBI, Comey, McCabe, and Others”

  1. The American WaY.. The ones who sold books or movie rights have the money, Slight dip through Attorney land and they have to write another book. In this case a series of experienced authors on the theme life in a cell. Not phone the other kind.

  2. Turley finally admits:

    “Throughout Operation Crossfire Hurricane, evidence continued to flow into the FBI that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous dossier, was unreliable and working against the election of Trump. Not only was he known to be trying to get this false information to the press, …”

    Yes, and the press wouldn’t print it, despite Turley’s feigned outrage alleging partisanship when they wouldn’t cover the Hunter Biden laptop. Fusion GPS showed the Steele Dossier to all the major outlets in Sept 2016 and they wouldn’t cover it either, leading non-partisan observers – no, not you Turley – to the logical conclusion that as a matter of principle these sources declined to be used as oppo-research outlets right before an election.

    1. The difference is that the Steele Dossier was, in fact, Russian disinformation paid for by the Clinton campaign being used by Democrats to smear Hillary’s opponent, Donald Trump. The Hunter laptop story was not Russian disinformation, not paid oppo research, and all of its revelations were in fact newsworthy.

      But the mainstream media largely ignored the story in order to cover for Joe Biden, who had vehemently denied that he had any knowledge of his son’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. And then here comes Tony Bobulinski who, on the record, accused Biden of lying and said that he and Joe Biden had in fact personally discussed the ‘family business’ during a meeting at a Los Angeles hotel on May 2, 2017. That’s news, not Russian disinformation.

      Bobulinski also claimed that he had met with the FBI as part of a previously unknown investigation into allegations of money-laundering by Hunter Biden and his associates. All of this is newsworthy news. Yet none of it was covered by the “news” media in a blatant effort to protect Joe Biden’s presidential bid.

      And to this day, Joe Biden has never been asked if he has ever met with Tony Bobulinski or if the statements, made on the record by Bobulinksi, were true. Joe has never been pressed on the issues nor asked if he is “the Big Guy” getting 10%. These are serious allegations with national security implications.

      But the media simply let Adam Schiff go on the air calling it Russian disinformation straight from the Kremlin. This brazen lie is accepted and then repeated by the media as they dutifully buried the story. Case dismissed. No questions were asked of presidential candidate Joe Biden. Poof! The bad story goes away for Joe Biden.

      Whereas the phony Russian disinformation story and the Steele Dossier, paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to smear Trump gets spread far and wide all through the “news” media and all over the airwaves as the media dutifully did its part to try to destroy Trump.

      This is the sad state of our “news” media today. It’s mostly Fake News. And they don’t even try to hide it anymore.

      1. Here’s a preview of hard-hitting ‘news’ reporting we can expect to see during a Joe Biden administration:

        Joe and Jill are getting a cat to join them and their two dogs in the White House.

        How unifying for the country.

    2. Do you read what you write ?

      First, the media dealt with the steele dossier the way they always deal with such stuff.

      Credible outlets refuse to print it – UNTIL someone else does – which is precisely what happened.

      Your claim of some integrity on the part of the 2016 press is ludicrous.
      Once parts of the Steele dossier became public, the rest of the press – NYT, MSNBC, CNN, WaPo had no problems not just printing it but running with idiotic Steele Dossier based stories for YEARS.

      That is your idea of journalistic integrity ?

      Further – while the PRess did not bite on the Steele Dozzier – until Buzzfeed did,

      The FBI absolutely bit on the Steele Dossier. It was the basis of a criminal investigation – first of a political candidate and then of the president for YEARS.

      Yet, that is somehow OK with you ?

      As to the Biden Laptop – Hunter Biden left it at a computer shop in Delaware – not some russian agent. Numerous americans publicly confirmed the authenticy of substantial portions of what was printed by the Post – BEFORE and AFTER it was printed.

      Here is Glenn Greenwald’s article – not just on the Biden laptop, but on the lack of media integrity of the media in failing to cover the story.

      The Steele Dossier NEVER had any credibility at all – it was the product of Steele’s, Fusion GPS’s and a russian agent working at Brookings imagination.

      The Biden laptop conversely is strongly tied to Biden, and has numerous details corroborated – including Damning details.

      The claim that the Biden laptop is “russian disinformation” is no more credible than the claim that the steele Dossier is truth.

      You have the most bizzare version of logic.

      You seem to beleive that it is reasonable to trade lies for the truth.

      https://greenwald.substack.com/p/article-on-joe-and-hunter-biden-censored

      1. So they were slow printing it and then continued to use it for months. No investigative journalism done. Let’s just see who publishes the crap first. As if they don’t communicate with each other. The Steele do9ssier was lies and they all did publish it.

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