Carter Page has received death threats, suffered economic losses and is trying to repair a reputation that is in tatters while the two government employees convicted in relation to the smear against him walked away with a slap on the wrist.
Falsely accused of being a Kremlin asset more than four years ago and ultimately exonerated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Mr. Page told a federal court on Friday that his life continues to spin out of control because of “manifold misinformation.”
Mr. Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was never charged with a crime.
The two men convicted of helping perpetuate the false accusations, however, spent a combined two months in jail.
Clinesmith last year admitted that he falsified a warrant application submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to continue spying on Mr. Page.
Mr. Page declined to comment directly on Clinesmith’s sentence but told The Washington Times he was encouraged that the court recognized the importance of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) system.
In 2018, former Senate aide James Wolfe received two months in prison for lying to the FBI about his relationships with the press.
Wolfe was ensnared in an FBI probe of media leaks about the surveillance warrants targeting former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign — warrants that included Clinesmith’s false information.
Prosecutors did not charge Wolfe with leaking classified information from the warrant. Court documents revealed that he had briefed reporters on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoena of Mr. Page and shared details about his coming and goings at the committee.
Testifying at Clinesmith’s sentencing hearing, Mr. Page said he had been harassed on the street and while riding Washington’s Metrorail system. He said he has received death threats and was called a “traitor” after the media first reported he was under FBI surveillance.
Mr. Page told the court he has been forced to live the “life of an international fugitive” because of the negative publicity.
“I know what it is like to have your life destroyed, although in my case, it didn’t happen because of something I myself did,” Mr. Page said, asking the court to show mercy on Clinesmith.
In the case of Wolfe, Mr. Page submitted a legal brief ahead of his sentencing. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected it, saying it wasn’t relevant.
Judge Jackson did allow letters in support of Wolfe by then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, and the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.
Mr. Page has long been the victim of smears. An expert on Russia who once worked in Moscow, he was accused of being a link between the Trump campaign and Russian officials who meddled in the 2016 election.
He repeatedly said the year-long surveillance, which ended in 2017, was an abuse of government power. He insisted he was targeted because of his connection to the Trump campaign.
Those claims were vindicated in late 2019, when the Justice Department’s inspector general found at least 17 errors or omissions, including withholding information, in the application to surveil Mr. Page.
The disclosure sparked outrage among conservatives and their allies.
“If I was Carter Page, I’d hire me a lawyer and I’d sue the hell out of the United States,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Among Inspector General Michael D. Horowitz’s findings, the most damning revelation was that an FBI lawyer altered an email to make it look like Mr. Page was not a source for the CIA, when, in fact, he was.
That lawyer was Clinesmith, who was charged with falsifying a document. While in contact with someone who appeared to be the FBI’s liaison to the CIA, Clinesmith was informed via email that Mr. Page was indeed a source for the CIA.
Clinesmith then altered the email by inserting the word “not” next to “source,” making it appear as if Mr. Page had no relationship with the CIA.
In November, Mr. Page filed a $75 million lawsuit against the FBI and the Justice Department for spying on him. The lawsuit names as defendants former FBI Director James B. Comey, former Assistant Director Andrew McCabe and Clinesmith, among others.
He recently told The Times that he may take further steps to address the FBI’s bungling of the FISA warrant. He didn’t elaborate.
“More to come,” he said.
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