Ex-FBI Lawyer Clinesmith Receives Slap on the Wrist For Altering Exonerating Email

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith on Friday was given what amounts to a slap on the wrist for altering an exonerating email as part of the FBI’s effort to get a FISA warrant to spy on an American citizen.

District Court Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, ordered Clinesmith to receive twelve months of probation, pay a $100 fine and perform 400 hours of community service for making a false statement about former Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the Bureau’s Crossfire Hurricane (CH) investigation. The judge’s ruling is far more lenient than the maximum sentence of five years and $250,000 fine for the offense.

It’s also more lenient than the mild three to six month prison sentence sought by Special Prosecutor John Durham.

The Justice Department’s charging document stated that Clinesmith “did willfully and knowingly make and use a false writing and document, knowing the same to contain a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and entry in a matter before the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the Government of the United States.”

Clinesmith altered the wording on a June 2017 email to indicate that Page was not a friendly source of information to the CIA, which is the opposite of the truth. A CIA employee had written that Page had been “a source” for the spy agency through 2013.

The filing said another official took Clinesmith’s altered email, relied on it, and signed and submitted the renewed FISA application to the FISA Court.

“The application for FISA #4 did not include Individual #1’s history or status with the OGA [other government agency],” the document read.

Clinesmith, who was an assistant general counsel in the FBI’s cyber law branch, helped the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team, which investigated possible links between the Russian government and Trump campaign.

He later joined the special counsel’s team, but was removed after the Justice Department inspector general found that he sent anti-Trump text messages, including the infamous  “Viva la Resistance” text, following the 2016 election.

Boasberg said that Clinesmith’s actions “undermined the integrity of the FISA process,” but that he believed that Clinesmith was remorseful and did not alter the email to harm Page.

Boasberg said that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court’s “reputation has suffered from this incident.”

The IG blasted the FBI for providing misleading information to the FISA Court in order to obtain warrants on Page, a former Navy officer who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.

Prosecutors argued that Clinesmith had not taken full responsibility for his crime.

Anthony Scarpelli, an assistant U.S. attorney, said during the hearing that Clinesmith’s lies about Carter Page were “more egregious” than those told by George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.

Page testified during the hearing that the “manufactured scandal and associated lies caused me to adopt the lifestyle of an international fugitive for years.”

“I often have felt as if I had been left with no life at all. Each member of my family was severely impacted,” he said.

Last November, Page sued the Justice Department, FBI, and a host of former FBI officials, including disgraced fired FBI Director James Comey, and Clinesmith for $75 million.


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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)