Former Trump Aide Carter Page Was on U.S. Counterintelligence Radar Before Russia Dossier

Court documents, testimony show foreign-policy adviser was known to authorities as early as 2013

Carter Page, who served as a foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, was known to U.S. counterintelligence officials for years before he became a prominent figure in a dossier of unverified research about the future president’s ties to Russia.

What prompted the FBI to suspect that Mr. Page was acting as an agent of Russia?
.. the former Trump aide has been known to U.S. counterintelligence officials dating back to at least 2013, nearly three years before he joined the Trump campaign.
.. Mr. Page’s dealings with Russia date back to more than a decade before Mr. Trump ran for president and his opponents began crafting the dossier.For three years, starting in 2004, Mr. Page was living in Moscow, where he opened an office for the investment banking firm Merrill Lynch & Co. He also served as an adviser on “key transactions” involving the Russian state-owned energy company PAO Gazprom and RAO UES, the Russian state-controlled electricity monopoly, according to Mr. Page’s biography.
.. In January 2013, Mr. Page was in New York at an Asia Society event on China and energy development, when he met Victor Podobnyy, a junior attaché at the Russian consulate in New York City who was in the audience
..  March 2013, Mr. Page met with Mr. Podobnyy again over coffee or a Coke, he told the House panel in his testimony. Mr. Page, asked why he had sought out Mr. Podobnyy a second time, said he wanted to practice his Russian.
.. He was interviewed by FBI counterintelligence agent Gregory Monaghan and another FBI agent, who were investigating whether Mr. Podobnyy was a Russian intelligence agent
.. In 2015, Mr. Podobnyy was charged with posing as a U.N. attaché under diplomatic cover while trying to recruit Mr. Page as a Russian intelligence source.
.. The criminal complaint filed by U.S. federal prosecutors alleged Mr. Podobnyy was an agent for the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service. The complaint also detailed Mr. Podobnyy’s discussion in April 2013 with Igor Sporyshev, a second alleged SVR agent posing as a Russian trade representative, about efforts to recruit “a male working as a consultant in New York City.” Mr. Podobnyy was afforded diplomatic immunity and left the country.
.. Mr. Page had provided the Russians with documents, which Mr. Page said were “nothing more than a few samples from the more detailed lectures” he was preparing for a course he was teaching at New York University at the time.
.. Over the course of the campaign, Mr. Page traveled to Russia at least twice and kept top Trump campaign advisers abreast of his travels
.. In the speech, he criticized the U.S. and European states for their behavior toward states of the former Soviet Union for their “often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”
.. He declined to answer questions after the speech about U.S. politics, saying that the purpose of his speech was academic, and refused to meet with reporters, leaving the auditorium through an exit backstage.
.. Mr. Page told the House that while in Moscow, he “briefly said hello” to Arkady Dvorkovich, deputy prime minister of Russia, and met with Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Russian oil giant PAO Rosneft... Before hiring Mr. Steele, the firm’s research had been paid for by a conservative news outlet that opposed Mr. Trump. 
.. Mr. Page’s name surfaced repeatedly in the fall of 2016 in classified briefings given to high-level members of Congress, according to people familiar with the matter. That was around the same time the FBI and the Justice Department were applying for a surveillance warrant against Mr. Page in the FISA court.

Former CIA chief: Trump’s travel ban hurts American spies — and America

President Trump’s executive order on immigration was ill-conceived, poorly implemented and ill-explained. To be fair, it would have been hard to explain since it was not the product of intelligence and security professionals demanding change, but rather policy, political and ideological personalities close to the president fulfilling a campaign promise to deal with a threat they had overhyped.

.. Paradoxically, they pointed out how the executive order breached faith with those very sources, many of whom they had promised to always protect with the full might of our government and our people. Sources who had risked much, if not all, to keep Americans safe.

..But as a former station chief told me, in the places where intelligence officers operate, rumor, whisper and conspiratorial chatter rule people’s lives. It doesn’t take paranoia to connect the action of the executive order with the hateful, anti-Islamic language of the campaign. In the Middle East, with its honor-based cultures, it’s easier to recruit someone we have been shooting at than it is to recruit someone whose society has been insulted. 
.. the fundamental posture of an intelligence service looking for sources is that “We welcome you, you have value. Our society respects you. More than your own.” He feared that would no longer be the powerful American message it once was.
.. The simple idea of America didn’t hurt either. The station chief said that one of the fundamentals of his business was selling the dream. The Soviets “had a hard time with that. We had it easy. A lot of intelligence targets — officials, military figures, African revolutionaries, tribal leaders — railed against our policies, our interventions, many things . . . but they loved America. It was the idea of the country as a special place. They didn’t necessarily want to go there, but it was a place they kept in their minds where they would be welcome.”
.. These effects will not pass quickly. These are not short-term, transactional societies. Insults rarely just fade away. Honor patiently waits to be satisfied. In the meantime, we will be left with the weak and the merely avaricious, agents who will cut a deal just for the money, the worst kind of sources.

Hard-Line Islamists Capture Spotlight in Indonesia

Islamist activists use blasphemy case to galvanize population in world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation

A darker side also has emerged: vigilante groups have grown more emboldened in attacking religious and sexual minorities, rights groups say.

The FPI has galvanized opposition to Mr. Purnama, who is running for re-election, saying that a non-Muslim should not govern Muslims. The organization seeks his conviction on blasphemy. Two FPI-led rallies in Jakarta each drew hundreds of thousands of people, despite admonitions by officials and mainstream Muslim leaders to stay away.

.. Groups like the FPI have capitalized on the case to boost their street credentials. By tapping into anger at Mr. Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian whose brash manner and attempts to overhaul the bureaucracy have earned him enemies, they have united moderates and conservatives and exploited divisions in mainstream Muslim groups, rights activists say.

.. the FPI is believed by rights groups and many academics to have had support from Indonesia’s security forces to act as an periodic check on potential threats, such as communists or deviant sects.

.. What is clear is that hard-line influence has grown, amplified by social media, which has allowed the FPI to spread its message more widely and call people to action. The FPI’s 70,000 Twitter followers are exhorted to fight blasphemers. The group has also built support by providing charity to disadvantaged communities.


  • March 2006 The government issues a decree that requires community approval for a house of worship to be built. A spate of churches are closed after Islamic hard-liners allege they don’t have proper building permits.