As Donald Trump plans to release classified documents relating to the ongoing investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign's possible collusion with Russia to tip the election in his favor — information Trump claims will show that the FBI placed an adviser to his campaign under surveillance without good cause — British intelligence agencies are fighting Trump behind the scenes to stop him from declassifying the documents, according to an investigation by Britain's Telegraph newspaper.
The documents Trump wants to release pertain to the FBI surveillance of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign who has become a prominent figure in the Russia collusion scandal. As the Inquisitr reported, Page is a businessman with ties to Russia, who was named in the Christopher Steele private intelligence dossier as having brokered a deal to sell about 19 percent of the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.
The ultimate buyer of those shares remains a mystery, but according to the Steele Dossier, the deal was a quid pro quo, with Trump agreeing to ease sanctions against Russia following the sale.
Page also was linked to a Russian spy ring in 2013, three years before the FBI applied for the secret FISA court warrant to place Page under surveillance, as Inquisitr has also reported. Page has not been charged with any crime and he denies the accusations in the Steele dossier, though he has acknowledged acting as an "informal adviser to the Kremlin."
Trump wants to release the full FISA warrant application in which the FBI spells out its full evidence to justify placing Page under surveillance. "Britain is fiercely lobbying behind the scenes to stop the classified info being released," Telegraph reporter Ben Riley-Smith wrote on his Twitter account. "It is unclear what's in there. But these applications tend to have detailed intelligence arguing why a wiretap should be approved."
British intelligence, according to a Yahoo! News account of the Telegraph report, fears that making the FISA application public would expose secret sources who worked with the British and US intelligence agencies — exposure that could place the sources in harm's way, and could damage intelligence gathering capabilities.
"It boils down to the exposure of people," a US intelligence official told the Telegraph, adding that the US concern about exposing sources was shared by the British. "We don't want to reveal sources and methods."
Britain's intel agencies are increasingly getting dragged into a heated and partisan row in Washington about the origins of the Russia probe," Riley-Smith wrote on Twitter. "Trump's allies are determined to portray the Russia investigation as a 'deep state' stitch-up that was out to get him from the start. The political motive is clear. If voters think FBI is biased and probe is invalid, they're more likely to wave away its ultimate findings."