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Yahoo! News' Isikoff: 'As Surprised As Anybody' Over Being in Nunes Memo

Image: Yahoo! News' Isikoff: 'As Surprised As Anybody' Over Being in Nunes Memo
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 03 February 2018 11:38 AM

Yahoo! News' Michael Isikoff said Saturday he was "as surprised as anybody" that he was cited in House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes' memo alleging FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] to obtain a surveillance warrant against a former campaign aide for President Donald Trump.

"I was as surprised as anybody that I was cited in the memo and apparently was cited before the FISA court," Isikoff, who is the chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News, told CNN's Michael Smerconish.  "But the story that I wrote in September 2016 was the first story to reveal that there was a U.S. intelligence investigation of somebody associated with the Trump campaign, and that was Carter Page."

According to the memo, the FBI used a Sept. 23, 2016 article by Isikoff to back up evidence being used to obtain a warrant against then-campaign aide Carter Page. The article focuses on Page's trip in July 2016 to Moscow. However, the memo says, in underlined text, "this article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from Information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo! News."

Isikoff Saturday admitted he had met with Steele and heard about the work he was doing and the concerns the British spy had of Page's contacts in Moscow in July.

After that, Isikoff said he checked out Steele, including speaking with people who had worked with him, and confirmed that Page "had been on the radar screen of U.S. officials for some time."

He also pointed out that his story was about a U.S. intelligence investigation into the allegations about Page, but "we did not say that we had verified with Christopher Steele, what Christopher Steele had to say. That's what the FBI was seeking do and that's what we reported."

In addition, Isikoff said, there were multiple sources quoted in the story about Page and the FBI's interest in him.

"Whether or not Carter Page met with the specific individuals referenced in the Steele dossier is still unknown to me, and I believe as far as I can tell, to the U.S. government," said Isikoff.

He added that Page had acknowledged in testimony that he had meetings in Moscow with a senior Russian government official and a others cited in the dossier, after denying at first any such meetings.

"Look, this is a highly selective memo clearly," Isikoff said of the GOP-backed document. "There is much more that went into that FISA application, we know, both from the Democrats and from our own sources in the U.S. government which we haven't yet seen."

Until the full picture is revealed, he said, it's hard to know what impact his story would have had in the FISA application on Page.

"This is probably the most important thing, there were three renewals of this FISA application, and that goes far beyond what was in the original application," said Isikoff. "The FBI would have had to have gotten fruitful intelligence that it could then go back to the court and say here is the basis for continuing this FISA."

Meanwhile, Steele has been characterized as having an animus toward Trump, but Isikoff said he believes the spy, who had been the MI-6 Russia specialist for many years, was a "serious guy" and was well regarded.

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Yahoo! News' Michael Isikoff said Saturday he was "as surprised as anybody" that he was cited in House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes' memo alleging FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] to obtain a surveillance warrant against a...
nunes memo, isikoff, yahoo news
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2018-38-03
Saturday, 03 February 2018 11:38 AM
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