By Chuck Ross
The Justice Department plans to interview two senior CIA officers as part of a sweeping review of surveillance activities against the Trump campaign, The New York Times reported.
Sources briefed on the plans told The Times that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is leading the DOJ review, wants to speak with a senior CIA counterintelligence official and a senior CIA analyst who handled intelligence about Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Attorney General William Barr is interested in finding out more about the sources the CIA relied on to assess Russia’s goals in interfering in the election, according to The Times. He also wants to know about intelligence the CIA provided the FBI in summer 2016, including about Americans associated with the Trump campaign. (RELATED: DOJ Review Of Russia Probe Is ‘Broad In Scope’ And ‘Multifaceted’)
One of the officials sought for an interview worked at a CIA counterintelligence mission center that worked closely with the FBI.
CIA Director Gina Haspel does not plan to block the interviews, according to The Times.
Barr, who picked Durham to lead the probe, has said he is concerned by information he has seen that U.S. agencies may have improperly surveilled members of the Trump campaign.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General is already investigating the FBI’s use of the unverified Steele dossier in applications for surveillance warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The FBI also relied on at least one longtime informant, Stefan Halper, to make contact with Trump aides, including Page and George Papadopoulos.
Halper’s first contact with Page was on July 10, 2016, which was three weeks before the FBI claims it opened its counterintelligence investigation of Trump associates. When Halper met with Papadopoulos in London in September 2016, he was accompanied by a government investigator who worked under the alias Azra Turk.
It is still not clear which government agency employed Turk.
The Justice Department has signaled that the CIA and other intelligence agencies besides the FBI will be subject to Durham’s probe.
On Monday, the Justice Department told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, that the review is “broad in scope and multifaceted.”
The review is “intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals,” the Justice Department said.
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