The FBI gathered intelligence last summer that suggests Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers, including Carter Page, to infiltrate the Trump campaign, according to US officials.
The new information adds to the emerging picture of how the Russians tried to influence the 2016 election, not only through email hacks and propaganda but also by trying to infiltrate the Trump orbit. The intelligence led to an investigation into the coordination of Trump's campaign associates and the Russians.
These officials made clear they don't know whether Page was aware the Russians may have been using him. Because of the way Russian spy services operate, Page could have unknowingly talked with Russian agents.
I have seen a few interviews with this Page guy and it seems likely that he is either a gifted actor able to lie right to your face without raising suspicions, or a complete idiot easily manipulated by just about anybody who spends five minutes talking to the guy.
I would however point out that the report specifically says "advisers" which leads me to think that Page was not their only "useful idiot."
That could mean that Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and perhaps a few others could also have been compromised.
At the end of the article was also this rather interesting nugget:
Intelligence analysts and FBI investigators who analyzed various strands of intelligence from human sources to electronic and financial records have found signs of possible collusion between the campaign and Russian officials. But there is not enough evidence to show that crimes were committed, US officials say.
Part of the problem for investigators has been that they lost their opportunity to conduct the investigation in secret after several leaks last year revealed FBI was looking at people close to the Trump campaign. After those reports, people that the US was monitoring changed their behavior, which made it more difficult for US officials to monitor them.
So that means that there likely IS evidence of some collusion between some in the Trump campaign and the Russians, but because those under investigation were made aware that they were under investigation that they may have destroyed data needed to charge them with actual crimes.
That kind of sounds to me as if the FBI knows that the Russians were actually successful in infiltrating the Trump campaign, but just can't prove it yet.
Of course if the FBI can prove they destroyed evidence after being notified of an investigation that is enough on its own to charge them with a crime.
So fingers crossed.