Carter Page is a former investment banker who was identified as a foreign policy adviser to then-U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. Page was reported to have numerous connections to Russian government and business circles, which raised the question of whether he was acting as an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
In 2017, Page’s activities were scrutinized by the FBI in an investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election and potential coordination with the Trump campaign. In 2018, the then-House Intelligence Committee released a memorandum that alleged that the FBI and Justice Department relied on a dossier funded by the Democratic National Committee, sourced from Christopher Steele, using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on Page.
It is not clear if Page was working for the CIA, but there is evidence to suggest he may have been. At the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Page made a public statement about his support for Moscow’s efforts to normalize relations with the United States. He also had numerous contacts with Russian government and business circles that the FBI investigated, suggesting that he was engaging in intelligence-gathering activities.
Additionally, the CIA had historically maintained a close relationship with Page, reportedly employing him as a consultant in the mid-2000s. Furthermore, Page’s trip to Moscow in 2016 would have likely sparked the FBIs interest in him and his activities and could have aroused suspicions that he was acting as a foreign agent on behalf of the CIA.
Consequently, there is reason to believe that Page was working for the CIA. This is further exemplified by the release of the 2018 House Intelligence Committee memorandum which alleged that the FBI and Justice Department relied on a dossier funded by the Democratic National Committee, sourced from Christopher Steele, which was then used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Page.
Experts have generally speculated that Page may have been working for the CIA, as evidenced by the variety of interactions he had with Russian government and business circles. Michael Isikoff, a renowned national security correspondent stated that “Given the extent of the contacts that he had with those sorts of [Russian] individuals and the fact that he was pitching himself to them as someone who could broker deals, of course, it raises the question about whether he was engaged in something more than he was simply carrying out a foreign policy mission for the Trump campaign.”
Likewise, Paul Pillar, a former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia during the George W. Bush administration, also suggested that there was likely more to Page’s activities than just holding foreign policy discussions with Russians. He declared that “The level of detail and attention being lavished on [Page]… raises the possibility of something covert.”
Relationship With the Russian Government
The most powerful piece of evidence that suggests Page was working for the CIA is his past relationship with the Russian government. According to FBI reports, Page was identified as “cooperating with the FBI’s efforts to elicit information about people associated with the Russian government who had approached him with regard to foreign policy matters.”
Furthermore, Page had multiple meetings with Russian government officials and business leaders and maintained contact with them for quite some time. This led to some in the intelligence community suspecting he was gathering intelligence on the Russian government. In addition, it became increasingly evident that the FBI was taking a closer look at Page’s activities in 2016 after he took a trip to Moscow in July of that year. This added fuel to the idea that he may have been working for the CIA.
Trump defended Page, stating that he was not a part of his campaign when the allegations of Page’s involvement with the CIA surfaced. In his defense, Trump held that “Carter Page is somebody who I’ve not been aware of. He has no role in my campaign. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him.”
However, this was proven to be false when a 2016 memo from then-campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos revealed that Page had been “invited by me to join the team” and that he had “been given more of a role in recent weeks.”
Despite Trump’s insistence, the FBI reportedly saw Page as a possible agent for the CIA and a potential foreign influence targeting his campaign. Additionally, Carter Page was wiretapped by the FBI, as revealed in the 2018 House Intelligence Committee memo, providing further evidence of his suspected connection to the CIA.
Financial Ties With Russia
Carter Page had extensive financial ties with Russia and was the managing partner of Global Energy Capital LLC, a New York-based private equity firm focused on energy investments in the former Soviet Union. Global Energy Capital was founded in 2008 and reportedly extended a $10 million loan to Igor Sechin, a Russian oil tycoon and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in 2012.
Page has also served as a consultant to Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom and reportedly sought to invest in the Russian oil industry and advised Russian energy companies on their investments in the West. These financial ties suggest that Page had a strong relationship with Russian officials and business interests, increasing the suspicion that he may have been working for the CIA.
In addition to his suspected connections with the CIA, Page also allegedly had ties to the Democratic Party. The 2016 Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaigns funded the so- called “Steele dossier”, authored by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which accused Page of having illicit ties with Russia. This dossier was then used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Page despite the fact that some of the allegations in the dossier have been discredited.
The memos also accused Page of infringing on the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from engaging in foreign diplomacy. Consequently, Page took legal action against the DNC, Clinton, and Fusion GPS, which was involved in funding the dossier, for “defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
In April 2019, the Department of Justice dismissed all criminal charges against Page, citing the fact that the FBI had failed to provide evidence that there was sufficient probable cause to issue a surveillance warrant.
In January 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia sided with Page in a related civil case. The court ruled that FBI agent Stephen Somma had infringed on Page’s First Amendment rights when pursuing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application against him.
Page has argued that each of the four FISA applications that were used against him were “inaccurate, incomplete, unreliable and misleading”, and that they were based on false Democratic Party campaign propaganda that was used to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Consequently, the U.S. District Court concluded that the government “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in its pursuit of a FISA warrant against Page.
Carter Page was also allegedly involved in international events that raised suspicions of CIA affiliations. In July 2016, Page took a trip to Moscow which sparked the FBI’s interest in his activities. Additionally, Page was reportedly identified as a “point of contact” between the unnamed Trump campaign and the Russian government, according to the infamous Tampa meeting between Senate staffers and Russian diplomats.
In addition, Page was involved in the controversial “dirt” meeting which took place between top Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and several other members of the Trump campaign in June 2016. This led to many sources suspecting that Page was an undercover CIA operative who was engaging in illicit activities in order to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
Despite the evidence that suggests Page may have been working for the CIA, there is still no concrete proof that he was doing so. It is possible that Page was simply engaging in intelligence- gathering activities for the Trump campaign, or had no involvement in covert operations.
That being said, Page’s past affiliations and activities have raised considerable suspicions in the United States intelligence community as to whether he was indeed working as a CIA agent. The FBI’s pursuit of a FISA warrant as well as Page’s numerous contacts with Russian government and business circles are seen as strong indicators of his potential involvement with the Central Intelligence Agency.
Ultimately, whether or not Carter Page was working for the CIA remains an ongoing mystery, one which may never be fully solved.