Russian intelligence agent who met with Carter Page had nothing but contempt for him, captured on tape referring to him as an “idiot.”
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that “the FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump [as] part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.”
According to The Washington Post,
The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.
This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.
Foreign Policy published an article last week providing additional details regarding Page’s contact with Russian intelligence agents in New York.
As Foreign Policy reported, those Russian agents tried to recruit Page in 2013; and, “While the effort was ultimately unsuccessful as the FBI broke up the spy ring in 2015, the meetings between Page and the Russian intelligence officers constitute one of the most substantive ties to date between a member of the Trump camp and Russian intelligence.”
Foreign Policy goes on to report that Page was identified as “Male-1” in a 2015 secret criminal complaint, and BuzzFeed News reported that “Page confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Monday that he is ‘Male-1’ in the court filing.”
“Page met with a Russian intelligence operative named Victor Podobnyy, who was later charged by the US government alongside two others for acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government,” according to the BuzzFeed News report. “The charges, filed in January 2015, came after federal investigators busted a Russian spy ring that was seeking information on US sanctions as well as efforts to develop alternative energy. Page is an energy consultant.”
That court filing included a transcript of a recorded conversation between Podobnyy and one of the other men “busted in the spy ring, Igor Sporyshev, about trying to recruit” Page.
Foreign Policy elaborated on the recorded conversation, reporting that Podobnyy told Sporyshev, his boss, that Page “got hooked on Gazprom,” a Russian energy company. “It’s obvious that he wants to earn lots of money,” he added.
Continuing their report, Foreign Policy added that:
Podobnyy, officially an attaché to the Russian mission of the U.N., told the Page that he would work with Sporyshev, as Russia’s trade representative in New York, to win contracts for Page. “He went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back,” Podobnyy told Sporyshev on April 8, 2013. “I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am.” Podobnyy noted that Page wrote him emails in Russian “to practice,” and said “he flies to Moscow more than I do.”
But Podobnyy never intended to deliver on those promises and instead pumped Page for information.
“This is intelligence method to cheat, how else to work with foreigners? You promise a favor for a favor,” Podobnyy told his supervisor. “You get the documents from him and tell him to go f-ck himself.”
As The Washington Post reported yesterday: “Page has not been accused of any crimes, and it is unclear whether the Justice Department might later seek charges against him or others in connection with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections began in July, officials have said. “
Page has said the information he provided to the Russians in 2013 was innocuous, describing it as “basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents.” He said he had assisted the prosecutors in their case against Evgeny Buryakov, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to act in the United States as an unregistered agent of Russian intelligence.
So far, the White House has declined to make any official statement regarding the allegations.