fter unleashing a hefty $75 million lawsuit against the Department of Justice and FBI on Friday for “unlawful spying,” former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page alleged that an FBI counterintelligence agent used an alias during multiple interviews with him in 2017.
According to Page, veteran FBI counterintelligence agent Stephen Somma introduced himself as Steve Holt during five interviews conducted as part of Crossfire Hurricane, the code name for the FBI probe. At the time, the FBI was investigating Page, along with three others, over possible links to Russia.
Behold, the Russia hoax.
Page was the most scrutinized of all the probe’s targets, as the FBI conducted electronic – wiretapping – and physical surveillance from October 2016 through September 2017, BizPacReview reports.
The 8-count lawsuit extensively cites the findings of a Justice Department inspector general’s report, which detailed 17 “significant” errors in the FBI’s applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Page, several of which Somma was “primarily responsible” for.
While the use of a codename for covert FBI operations may be standard protocol, the use of a fake name by an individual FBI agent is not. And, according to a retired 25-year FBI veteran, it is virtually unheard of.
“Never heard of an FBI agent going undercover as a different FBI agent,” James Gagliano told the DCNF. “If I was in a supervisory capacity on that matter – I’d never have authorized it,” he added.
Somma’s use of an alias brings up a few red flags.
Knowing his real name could have revealed that he had connections to Stefan Halper, a confidential FBI source who secretly recorded Page during Crossfire Hurricane.
Investigators failed to disclose that Page told Halper during one of their meetings that he had never met with Kremlin officials, who the dossier claims he met with during a trip to Moscow. Page also told Halper he had never spoken to – or even met – Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which undercut an allegation from Christopher Steele that Page worked with Manafort as part of the Russia hoax. The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s dossier, yet several of the allegations have since been debunked.
Somma also was informed by a CIA employee that Page had been an “operational contact” for the spy agency through at least 2013, which he failed to include in the FISA application to surveil Page.
It remains unclear whether U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating any of Somma’s suspicious activities as part of a broad review of the FBI’s probe, but it might be a good idea to do so.