Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty Wednesday to altering an email supporting the surveillance of President Donald Trump’s former campaign aide Carter Page.
Clinesmith testified Wednesday that he inserted the words “not a source” into a 2017 email about Page’s history of work with the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA, however, had earlier told investigators he was an “operational contact” for the agency from 2008 to 2013, providing information about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers.
Investigators relied on the email to justify an application to renew a wiretap on Page, which has since been invalidated by the Justice Department.
“At the time I believed the information I was providing in the email was accurate. But I am agreeing that the information inserted into the email was not originally there and I inserted that information,” he said.
The case is the first brought by federal prosecutor John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr last year to interview the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Clinesmith is set to be sentenced on Dec. 10. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, but he is expected to be sentenced to zero to six months.
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