Texas Rep. Will Hurd said Sunday that the media should be “outraged” at the FBI for lying about its surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and regarding the infamous Steele dossier.
“I don’t understand why more people are not outraged. I don’t understand why Chairman Schiff’s not upset, because he was lied to by folks. The media was lied to about this,” Hurd told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Hurd, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, was responding to a Justice Department inspector general’s report which found “significant inaccuracies” in FBI applications for surveillance warrants against Page.
The FBI withheld exculpatory information regarding Page — including that he had a longstanding relationship with the CIA — as well as derogatory information about the Steele dossier. The IG report said that the dossier was “central and essential” to the FBI’s assertions that Page was a Russian agent.
“And if [Inspector General Michael Horowitz] would have came back and said that the Steele dossier was 100 percent true, I would be apoplectic because people would have lied to me and I’d be dragging them to the Hill to answer questions,” Hurd told Tapper.
Tapper said he agreed with Hurd’s assessment, though CNN has been at the forefront of defending the Steele dossier and the FBI’s use of the document to spy on Page.
“I agree with you 100 percent, there should be a lot more bipartisan outrage about this,” said Tapper.
CNN has asserted in reports and its broadcast coverage for nearly three years that parts of the Steele dossier have proved accurate. Tapper and other CNN journalists have also insisted on air that the FBI would have verified parts of the dossier before using the information in applications for FISA warrants against Page.
The IG report undermined those claims. It debunked some of dossier author Christopher Steele’s allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government, and said that the FBI did not corroborate any of the information regarding Carter Page before including it in the FISA applications.
Hurd, a former CIA officer, said he was especially upset at the IG’s finding that the FBI failed to disclose to surveillance court judges that Page had a relationship with the CIA.
“The real question is why were there 17 lies in this report. You had a guy who was helping one branch of the government, thinking he was helping his country and another branch of the government was using that as an excuse to say he was committing espionage,” said Hurd, who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term next year.
“As a former intelligence officer, that is absolutely outrageous,” he added.
The IG report said that the FBI agent in charge of the Page portion of the investigation failed to inform Justice Department and FBI lawyers that Page was an “operational contact” for the CIA. An FBI attorney identified as Kevin Clinesmith also altered an email from the CIA to say that Page was “not a source” for the agency.
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