In the ongoing #ReleaseTheMemo battle, the aim of the Deep State and its congressional accomplices seems to be to attempt to discredit the four-page FISA memo detailing FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) surveillance abuses before President Trump authorizes its public release. The big problem opponents of the memo will face is that the memo is just that: a memo. The real issue is the intelligence behind the memo. And some lawmakers who have seen the intelligence are among those who voted for — and continue to advocate for — publicly releasing the memo.
As The Hill reported Wednesday:
According to a review by The Hill, confirmed by Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, at least seven members or their staff, beyond a core group of congressional leaders known as the Gang of Eight, had reviewed the underlying material as of last week.
According to Flores, that viewing was bipartisan and was “done on a committee-by-committee basis.” The lawmakers who have seen the intelligence are mostly those who serve on either the House Intelligence Committee or the Senate Intelligence Committee, since those committees oversee the DOJ.
As is to be expected, reaction to the intelligence is determined along strict party lines. Democrats’ reactions run the gamut from concern to outrage — with Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) going so far as to call the memo a “misleading” political ploy, saying, “I think the whole political purpose of this is to make a misleading case to the public, perpetuate the president’s political narrative, but not let the public see the underlying materials that would show just how distorted it is. I think that’s by design.” Schiff added, “The problem is, we can’t point out the inaccuracies without relying on the underlying material.”
Of course, it has been widely reported that the memo itself was written in such a way as not to include anything that would expose national security matters. The same is not true of the underlying intelligence, which, if released, would at least need to be heavily redacted. Schiff appears to be demanding that the memo be released only if the supporting intelligence is also released — something he can be almost sure cannot happen.
According to The Hill, those who have seen that intelligence include Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Vice Chairman Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse(D-R.I.), House Judiciary Chairman Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), ranking Judiciary Committee member Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas). Many of the Republicans on that list — having seen the supporting intelligence — have said the memo needs to be made public.
One Democrat, Representative Jim Himes (D-Conn.; shown above), is quoted in a transcript of Monday’s vote to release the memo. Speaking of the stakes of releasing the memo, he perhaps put it best, saying, “When all of this information is made available, there will be an accounting for all of us based on what is true,” adding, “If it turns out that the majority memo is wrong there will be hell to pay. If it turns out that the minority memo is wrong, there will be hell to pay.”
It is interesting that he did not actually say the memo was wrong. And he is correct that “there will be hell to pay.” After all, the memo reportedly exposes illegal abuses of a surveillance system that appears designed to facilitate those abuses — on law-abiding Americans. Not only that, but as The Hill explained:
[The memo is] believed to contain allegations that the FBI did not adequately explain to a clandestine court that some of the information it used in a surveillance warrant application for Trump adviser Carter Page came from opposition research partially funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, now known as the “Steele dossier.”
Considering that the Clinton Campaign and DNC illegally funded the “dossier” that was used to launch the Trump/Russia investigation in the first place, and that that “dossier” has been shown to be a fabrication devoid of fact or truth, the secret FISA court — which has been shown in the past to be a breeding ground for abuses of privacy — should never have given the green light to the surveillance of Trump associates.
The response from Democrats — who have opposed the release of the memo from the beginning — should be seen for what it is: a preemptive strike at the credibility of a document they have failed to keep from the public eye. Once the memo is made public (which could happen at any moment), the American people can judge it for themselves. And then, there can be “hell to pay.” And the payment will be shared by those in the Obama administration who are responsible, as well those who have attempted to cover up the abuses.
Photo of Rep. Jim Himes: AP Images