Kevin Clinesmith Sentenced to a Year of Probation

Judge James Boasberg just sentenced Kevin Clinesmith to a year of probation for altering a CIA email describing Carter Page’s prior relationship with the CIA.

Carter Page spoke at some length in his typical rambling style. Notably, he did not call for a harsh sentence for Clinesmith. And much of what he said was irrelevant to the sentencing (he seemed to be pitching to be a FISC amicus, as if the ties between him and Russian intelligence weren’t real concerns).

Anthony Scarpelli, arguing for the government, did not repeat a claim made in their sentencing memorandum, that Clinesmith may have made this alteration for political reasons. Judge Boasberg noted that the DOJ IG Report had found no evidence of such.

The government did suggest that Clinesmith had altered the email for more than just to avoid the work of correcting it. Boasberg didn’t see it that way. He found the argument of Clinesmith’s lawyer, Justin Shur, compelling that there was no personal benefit to Clinesmith because he wasn’t on the hook for the earlier mistakes in the application.

Boasberg also made a quip that, unlike certain politicians, Clinesmith had not chosen to be in the public limelight.

The hearing was perhaps most interesting for Boasberg’s comments, as the presiding FISA judge presiding over a criminal case pertaining to FISA, about the import of the FISA court’s role in checking Executive authority. I’ll return to those comments when a transcript is available.

Ultimately, then, this closes the most productive aspect of the Durham investigation, which has gone on almost as long as the investigation it is supposed to investigate.

9 replies
  1. BobCon says:

    I’d love to know the story behind the decision to sand down the political motivation claim.

    That claim was obviously weak, so I’m not surprised they did it, but there must have been a few interesting bits of conversation around it.

  2. PeterS says:

    I see from Politico that Boasberg told Page “to limit himself to comments on the impact of the FBI’s June 2017 surveillance application and not the prior three surveillance orders”. I wonder if Page did so limit himself, he’s never seemed able to talk coherently on point…

  3. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Maybe now that this is winding down Durham can be invited to testify about Trump strong arming our allies to allow Barr & Durham’s little international espionage fishing trip.

  4. bmaz says:

    “Ultimately, then, this closes the most productive aspect of the Durham investigation, which has gone on almost as long as the investigation it is supposed to investigate.”


    This was the path Clinesmith chose to take, i.e. a plea. The sentence by Boasberg was fine. Based on the entirety of what I’ve seen though, I have always felt Clinesmith was quite defensible. He had good lawyers though via ML, so okay.

      • bmaz says:

        Eh, don’t know. Not sure, even now, how often Covid goes into DOJ recommendations. Obviously the defense will raise that. There are always competing positions, and that is okay. But this sentence was fine.

  5. Ginevra diBenci says:

    The alt-right crowd on Epoch Times are treating this as proof of the entire conspiracy. Which conspiracy? You name it. It starts with “deep state” and ends with “The Steal.” Clinesmith’s admission of his infraction serves as indubitable validation of their ravenous grievance.

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