Swalwell calls for investigation of leaked Chinese spy story, but hyped classified leaks about Carter Page
Chuck Ross, DCNF
- Rep. Eric Swalwell is calling for an investigation into who leaked information about his contacts with a Chinese spy.
- But the California Democrat was not as concerned about leaks of classified information regarding alleged spy activity when it came to associates of Donald Trump.
- Swalwell hyped a story in April 2017 that revealed that the FBI surveilled Carter Page based on suspicions that he was a Russian agent.
- Page, citing new revelations about Swalwell’s contacts with a Chinese spy, called Swalwell one of the more ‘hypocritical and dangerous’ members of Congress.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell is calling for an investigation into leaks about his contacts with an alleged Chinese spy, marking a stark reversal for the California Democrat, who seized on leaks of classified information that falsely portrayed former Trump campaign aide Carter Page as a Russian agent.
“I hope it is investigated as to who leaked this information,” Swalwell said in an interview on CNN on Wednesday in response to a report from Axios about his contacts with a suspected Chinese spy named Christine Fang.
Axios reported on Monday that Fang, who is suspected of working for China’s Ministry of State Security, developed close ties to Swalwell and other California lawmakers from 2011 to 2015. She also had affairs with at least two U.S. mayors, according to intelligence officials who spoke to Axios.
Fang helped raise money for Swalwell’s re-election bid in 2014, and planted an intern in his congressional office, Axios reported.
Swalwell, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that someone in the Trump administration leaked information about him because of his criticism of President Donald Trump and his role in the president’s impeachment proceedings.
“If this is a country where people who criticize the president are going to have law enforcement information weaponized against them, that’s not a country that any of us want to live in,” Swalwell said in the CNN interview.
But Swalwell sang a different tune throughout the Trump-Russia probe, which saw a barrage of classified leaks to news outlets that advanced the now-debunked narrative that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Perhaps the most prominent leak was for a report in The Washington Post on April 11, 2017, that the FBI obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Page based on the suspicion that the ex-Trump adviser was a covert Russian agent.
Swalwell appeared on MSNBC on April 11, 2017, to discuss a breaking news report from The Washington Post that the FBI obtained authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to surveil Page.
The lawmaker asserted that the report justified the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
He said the existence of the FISA orders showed that Page was “certainly someone who you would be interested in getting to the bottom of what his ties to Russia were.”
Swalwell did not decry the leak of the classified information about Page, and suggested that the former Trump adviser had something to hide about his contacts in Russia.
“The way that Carter Page has behaved from his interviews…is also an indicator of somebody who wants to cover up prior ties,” Swalwell told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
The information leaked about Page was considered among the most highly classified intelligence maintained by the U.S. government.
The Justice Department investigated the leak because it involved highly classified information related to an ongoing FBI investigation.
Prosecutors investigated whether a top aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee leaked the information. The staffer, James Wolfe, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with a reporter who published another story about Page, but he was never accused of leaking the FISA story.
Page blasted Swalwell on Wednesday, accusing the lawmaker as “among the most hypocritical” members of Congress, along with Rep. Adam Schiff, because of his role pushing the collusion conspiracy theory.
“His incessant Russia-focused charlatanism across the media spectrum did extraordinary damage to the credibility of the U.S. Congress, himself and the news outfits that have frequently continued to offer him airtime over the years,” Page told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Given his far deeper financial and personal ties to alleged communist intelligence agents,” Page said, “it seems only logical that Congressman Swalwell should now himself immediately agree to the same type of interrogation tactics that he subjected me to in 2017.”
Swalwell has so far refused to give details about his relationship with Fang, who fled the U.S. in mid-2015.