Disbarment Sought of FBI’s Kevin Clinesmith Who Altered Email to Trigger Campaign Spying

Ex-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith

National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), an ethics watchdog group, filed a disbarment action today with the D.C. Bar against fired FBI attorney, Kevin E. Clinesmith, who pled guilty to a felony last month for doctoring a CIA email used to support a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor.

In an August 14, 2020, plea agreement with U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, who was tasked by Attorney General William Barr with investigating the origins of the 2016 Russia collusion probe known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” Kevin Clinesmith admitted that he doctored a June 15, 2017, CIA email by adding that Carter Page, “was not a source” for the CIA in his contacts with Russian sources, when in fact he was a contact with the CIA. 

That false representation was used during the Special Counsel Mueller probe to justify a surveillance warrant to spy on Mr. Page by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). On August 19, 2020, Mr. Clinesmith pled guilty via video conference to a felony for altering a government document knowing it was false and fraudulent.  He will be sentenced on December 10, 2020.

In late 2019, both the Inspector General Michael Horowitz and the FISC subsequently blasted the FBI for its error-ridden process for obtaining surveillance warrants, including the use of the infamous and unverified “Steele Dossier.”  After the 2016 election, Mr. Clinesmith texted a colleague “the crazies won finally,” and calling Vice President Mike Pence “stupid.” Asked by a colleague whether he intended to stay in government, he wrote, “viva la resistance.” Similar anti-Trump messages were made by FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

“Hopefully, this is just the first of many prosecutions by U.S. Attorney John Durham of those who abused their powers and committed criminal acts in initiating the Russia collusion probe,” said Peter Flaherty, NLPC Chairman.

“The District of Columbia Bar has a duty and responsibility to take swift action to disbar Mr. Clinesmith. Any less of a sanction would minimize the egregious misconduct,” said Paul Kamenar,  counsel for NLPC who drafted the 10-page complaint.

Here is the Bar Complaint: