UK spy chiefs up in arms over Trump making public Russiagate surveillance requests – report
A recent report alleges that British MI6 operatives fear that releasing the ‘Russiagate’ wiretap warrant on Donald Trump surrogate Carter Page in full will jeopardize intel-gathering and set a dangerous precedent for the future.
British spies have “genuine concerns” that the publication of the unredacted version of the FBI’s request to surveil Page will expose valuable sources, the Telegraph reported on Wednesday, citing interviews with a “dozen” UK and US officials.
The FBI suspected that Donald Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, was being recruited by Moscow amid the 2016 US presidential campaign. The agency filed a request to wiretap him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The request was approved by the court, and later renewed three times, even after Page quit Trump’s team.
Upon assuming the presidency, Trump pressured the Department of Justice to make the FISA request public. The released document was heavily redacted, with entire pages blacked out. It revealed that the FBI’s reasoning to spy on Gates was partially based on the notorious ‘Steele Dossier’, an unverified anti-Trump memo compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele and sponsored by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Convinced that the FBI “misled” the court, President Trump ordered in September to declassify 21 redacted pages of the wiretap request, then allowed the DOJ to delay the procedure.
In opposition to Trump, people within spy agencies in both Washington and London agree that the complete document should never be released, the Telegraph reported.
“It boils down to the exposure of people”, an unnamed US intelligence official told the paper. “We don’t want to reveal sources and methods.”
His colleague was quoted by the outlet as saying that Britain worries about setting a “precedent” which will discourage people from sharing information in the future.
The paper doesn’t specify whether MI6 had taken concrete steps to prevent the Carter Page FISA application from being released. Trump and his allies suggested that the fact that the document referred to the Steele Dossier indicated that the Trump campaign was surveilled with political motives in minds. Page himself, who denied ties with Moscow, told RT last month that “various political actors” in Washington had “put in a lot of false information” about him.
Some people close to Trump suspect that once the document is released in full, it will not only portray the US secret services in a bad light, but will hurt London as well. Speaking to the Telegraph, an unnamed former top adviser to Trump stated: “You know the Brits are up to their neck.”
“I think that stuff is going to implicate MI5 and MI6 in a bunch of activities they don’t want to be implicated in,” he was quoted as saying.
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