WASHINGTON, D.C—Kevin Clinesmith, 38, a former FBI lawyer was sentenced on Friday, January 29 to one year of probation after pleading guilty to altering an email that was used to help justify surveillance on an adviser to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Clinesmith worked four years as an assistant general counsel in the National Security and Cyber Law branch at the FBI. He admitted to altering an email exchange about whether Carter Page, a one-time foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, had been a source for the CIA.
The email originally stated that Page was a government “source” as he had publicly claimed. Clinesmith added words to make it appear that the CIA noted that Page was not a source. He told the judge that he believed the information to be true, but that he admitted that he changed the information himself.
The information was used as permission to wiretap Page by intelligence sources for proof that he had been targeted by Russian spies. The wiretap was renewed several times afterwards. In another renewal application, Clinesmith’s supervisor asked if Page was a source for the CIA, which would explain his connections with Russia.
The case was investigated by John Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to investigate the origins of the United States Department of Justice’s investigation into the 2016 campaign. The case against Clinesmith is the only criminal charge found as a result of Durham’s investigation. In addition to Clinesmith’s one year of probation, Judge James Boasberg also ordered Clinesmith to complete 400 hours of community service.