FISA Memo: Everything You Need to Know: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy statement and video

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy statement on the declassification of a memo prepared by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence majority:

“It is Congress’s constitutional duty and responsibility to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch.  The American people deserve to know the facts and have a transparent and open government—even when it comes to the delicate balance between security and privacy. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides our government with the ability to utilize surveillance resources to protect American citizens. Because of the sensitivity of this process, it is imperative the American people have the utmost faith that applications to obtain warrants against American citizens are based on ironclad facts that provide strong evidence of a threat to the country. In this case, the Intelligence Committee’s FISA memo makes clear that the full disclosure of facts to the court did not occur. Most notably, it was omitted that the author of an unverified political document disclosed to the court was an ardent and paid-political opponent of President Trump. Protecting against this type of politicization of the intelligence process is a primary reason why the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives was created. As the committee prepares for the release of the minority memo, we must recommit that despite political differences, our single greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. Our law enforcement agencies do that dutifully every day and this oversight work ensures they will be able to continue to do that every day moving forward.”  

Video Transcript

REP. TREY GOWDY: You have a right to know what happened with this FISA process and whether reforms are warranted.

REP. DEVIN NUNES: The American citizens that are represented before this court, have to be protected. And the only place that can protect them is the U.S. Congress.

NEWS CLIP 1: It has been the talk of Washington for weeks and today Republicans released a memo

NEWS CLIP 2: The memo reveals partisan bias at the Justice Department.

NEWS CLIP 3: Grassley and Graham confirmed the information and went further. Revealing that information was passed from British spy Christopher Steele through an intermediary close to the Clinton’s, and then to the State Department.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE: The Republican memo fairly raises questions about why certain facts were never disclosed to the FISA court.

NUNES: Political dirt was used by the FBI, and they knew it was political dirt to open a counter-intelligence investigation into the other campaign.

GOWDY: This dossier was paid for by the Democrat National Committee and Hillary Clinton.  They hired a political opposition research firm, who hired Christopher Steele, who wrote it. See how easy and straightforward that is? It tells you the source with clarity and specificity. Now contrast that with the way it was presented to the court. For reasons the Democrats never can explain, the FISA application went to great lengths to avoid identifying a material point about the financial source behind the dossier.

NEWS CLIP 4: Neither the initial FISA application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.

GOWDY: The Democrats claim Chris Steele was a reliable source.  But he wound up being dismissed as a source by the FBI for two different reasons. And in addition to that, Steele’s reliability isn’t really the seminal issue.  He didn’t know of the facts firsthand. He repeated what sources in Russia were telling him. So for that matter, a parrot could have been the source. If all you are going to do is repeat back what nameless, faceless people in another country are telling you, your experience and expertise aren’t nearly as important as the reliability of the people you are listening to.

RATCLIFFE: The DOJ and FBI had four opportunities to disclose these facts in the original FISA application in each of three subsequent renewal applications over a nearly year-long period—but never did. Now the Democrats on the intelligence committee, who opposed the release of our Republican memo, have since prepared their own “counter” memo.

GOWDY: Every single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Democrat memo. Every, single one. On the other hand, not a single, solitary Democrat voted to release the Republican memo. Not, a single one.

The lead Democrat most responsible for the drafting of the Democrat memo is Rep. Adam Schiff. Rep. Schiff didn’t have much interest in finding out how much of the dossier was used, whether it was vetted before it was used, whether it was vetted for that matter after it was used, or who paid for it. Keep in mind they went to court to keep you from finding out who paid for the dossier.

RATCLIFFE: The American people will learn that the Democrats memo attacks Republicans for questioning the integrity of DOJ lawyers like Bruce Ohr and FBI agents like Peter Strozk, who have either been demoted or removed. The Democrats memo also defends the integrity of Christopher Steele as a reliable and credible source even though the FBI and Department of Justice terminated him.

NEWS CLIP 5: In September of 2016, Christopher Steele admitted to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr his feelings against then candidate Trump. Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being President.”  

GOWDY: After all, we have FISA only because you consented to have it. With that consent comes the obligation of those entrusted with power to exercise that power judiciously and to answer legitimate questions when you have them. And asking questions of those in positions of power used to be something everyone could agree on.

Nunes Releases Statement on Democratic Memo

Nunes Statement on Democrat Memo
Washington, February 9, 2018

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes issued the following statement today:

“Along with other Intelligence Committee Republicans, I had warned that the Democratic memo contains many sources and methods. Ranking Member Schiff pledged to seek the input of the Department of Justice and FBI regarding the memo’s public release, and it’s no surprise that these agencies recommended against publishing the memo without redactions. Intelligence Committee Republicans encourage the minority to accept the DOJ’s recommendations and make the appropriate technical changes and redactions so that no sources and methods are disclosed and their memo can be declassified as soon as possible.”

The letter sent to the Committee outlining the Intelligence Community’s concerns with the memo is here.

No Democratic Memo; Wikileaks Offers Up Another Million Dollar Reward

House Intelligence Committee Minority Response to Release of “Misleading Memo”

Washington, February 2, 2018 

Washington, DC – Today, the Minority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence responded to the release of HPSCI Chairman Nunes’ memo:

“Chairman Nunes’ decision, supported by House Speaker Ryan and Republican Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to publicly release misleading allegations against the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation is a shameful effort to discredit these institutions, undermine the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation, and undercut congressional probes. Furthermore, their refusal to allow release of a comprehensive response memorandum prepared by Committee Democrats is a transparent effort to suppress the full truth.

“As the DOJ emphasized to Chairman Nunes, the decision to employ an obscure and never before used House rule to release classified information without DOJ and FBI vetting was ‘extraordinarily reckless.’ The selective release and politicization of classified information sets a terrible precedent and will do long-term damage to the Intelligence Community and our law enforcement agencies. If potential intelligence sources know that their identities might be compromised when political winds arise, those sources of vital information will simply dry up, at great cost to our national security.

“The Republican document mischaracterizes highly sensitive classified information that few Members of Congress have seen, and which Chairman Nunes himself chose not to review. It fails to provide vital context and information contained in DOJ’s FISA application and renewals, and ignores why and how the FBI initiated, and the Special Counsel has continued, its counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s election interference and links to the Trump campaign. The sole purpose of the Republican document is to circle the wagons around the White House and insulate the President. Tellingly, when asked whether the Republican staff who wrote the memo had coordinated its drafting with the White House, the Chairman refused to answer.

“The premise of the Nunes memo is that the FBI and DOJ corruptly sought a FISA warrant on a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and deliberately misled the court as part of a systematic abuse of the FISA process. As the Minority memo makes clear, none of this is true. The FBI had good reason to be concerned about Carter Page and would have been derelict in its responsibility to protect the country had it not sought a FISA warrant.

“In order to understand the context in which the FBI sought a FISA warrant for Carter Page, it is necessary to understand how the investigation began, what other information the FBI had about Russia’s efforts to interfere with our election, and what the FBI knew about Carter Page prior to making application to the court – including Carter Page’s previous interactions with Russian intelligence operatives. This is set out in the Democratic response which the GOP so far refuses to make public.

“The authors of the GOP memo would like the country to believe that the investigation began with Christopher Steele and the dossier, and if they can just discredit Mr. Steele, they can make the whole investigation go away regardless of the Russians’ interference in our election or the role of the Trump campaign in that interference. This ignores the inconvenient fact that the investigation did not begin with, or arise from Christopher Steele or the dossier, and that the investigation would persist on the basis of wholly independent evidence had Christopher Steele never entered the picture.

“The DOJ appropriately provided the court with a comprehensive explanation of Russia’s election interference, including evidence that Russian agents courted another Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. As we know from Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, Russian agents disclosed to Papadopoulos their possession of stolen Clinton emails and interest in a relationship with the campaign. In claiming that there is ‘no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos,’ the Majority deliberately misstates the reason why DOJ specifically explained Russia’s role in courting Papadopoulos and the context in which to evaluate Russian approaches to Page.

“The Majority suggests that the FBI failed to alert the court as to Mr. Steele’s potential political motivations or the political motivations of those who hired him, but this is not accurate. The GOP memo also claims that a Yahoo News article was used to corroborate Steele, but this is not at all why the article was referenced. These are but a few of the serious mischaracterizations of the FISA application. There are many more set out in the Democratic response, which we will again be seeking a vote to release publicly on Monday, February 5th. Unlike Committee Republicans, however, we will ask the relevant agencies to propose any necessary redactions to protect any sources and methods not already disclosed by Chairman Nunes’ document.

“It is telling that Chairman Nunes put out this memo without bothering to read the underlying materials, and that he ordered changes to the document without informing his own committee members. It is a terrible lapse in leadership that Speaker Ryan failed to intervene and prevent the abuse of classified materials in this way. It is tragic, if all too predictable, that this President would allow the release of the memo despite FBI and DOJ’s expressions of ‘grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the [Republicans’] memo’s accuracy’. But most destructive of all may be the announcement by Chairman Nunes that he has placed the FBI and DOJ under investigation, impugning and impairing the work of the dedicated professionals trying to keep our country safe.”

The memo and letter from the White House can be found here.

Nunes Must Go: #RemoveNunes: Twitter Funnies

FullofSchiff Jokes Occupy Twitter Users While Waiting for ReleaseTheMemo: Twitter Funnies

ReleaseTheMemo: Another Delay Looms as Schiff Claims Memo Has Been Altered

Chuck Schumer reacts:

Earlier, Eric Holder chimed in, calling the memo nonsense:

Meanwhile, the full transcript of the meeting of the Intelligence Committee that voted to release the memo has been published online:

BUSINESS MEETING
Monday, January 29, 201’8
U.S. House.of Representatives,
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,
Washington, D.C.

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180129/106822/HMTG-115-IG00-Transcript-20180129.pdf

 

Democracy 21: Watchdogs Challenge Irresponsible Nunes Memo that Trump Reportedly May Use to Get Rid of Deputy AG Rosenstein

January 29, 2018

Watchdogs Challenge Nunes Memo that Trump Reportedly May Use to Get Rid of Deputy AG Rosenstein, A Key Player in Russia/Trump Investigation

Watchdogs also Call on Speaker Ryan to Remove Nunes from Any Further Participation in Russia/Trump Investigation

Sixteen watchdog groups and individuals sent a letter to House Speaker Ryan today challenging the so-called “Nunes memo” as irresponsible. The letter called on Speaker Ryan “to act promptly to remove Chairman Nunes from any further participation in any aspect of the Russia investigation.”

The letter also noted reports that President Trump may use the Nunes memo to get rid of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Deputy AG Rosenstein is a key player in the Russia/Trump investigation and has final responsibility at the Justice Department for overseeing the Mueller Special Counsel investigation.

The letter to Speaker Ryan stated:

Published reports state that the Nunes memo specifically alleges abuses by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of overseeing the Mueller investigation.

According to a Washington Post article (January 27, 2018), “The president has told close advisers that the memo is starting to make people realize how the FBI and the Mueller probe are biased against him, and that it could provide him with grounds for either firing or forcing Rosenstein to leave, according to one person familiar with his remarks.”

The letter further stated:

According to a New York Times article (January 28, 2018), “Mr. Trump has long been mistrustful of Mr. Rosenstein, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, who appointed the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and now oversees his investigation into Mr. Trump’s campaign and possible obstruction of justice by the president. Mr. Trump considered firing Mr. Rosenstein last summer. Instead, he ordered Mr. Mueller to be fired, then backed down after the White House counsel refused to carry out the order, The New York Times reported last week. Mr. Trump is now again telling associates that he is frustrated with Mr. Rosenstein, according to one official familiar with the conversations.”

On January 25, 2018, Senator Warner, Ranking Member on the Senate Intelligence Committee,  said, “Any attempt to remove the Special Counsel, pardon key witnesses, or otherwise interfere in the investigation, would be a gross abuse of power, and all members of Congress, from both parties, have a responsibility to our Constitution and to our country to make that clear immediately.”

According to the letter to Speaker Ryan:

Given that he was a member of President Trump’s transition team, Chairman Nunes has had an inherent conflict of interest from the outset in participating in an investigation into the activities of Trump campaign officials and Trump associates. For that reason, Chairman Nunes never should have been put in charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation. This was clearly demonstrated in March when Chairman Nunes engaged in a knowing deception of the American people in trying to provide cover for President Trump.

The letter stated:

Given this blatantly inappropriate action, in which Chairman Nunes engaged in a knowing deception of the American people, you as Speaker should have required him to permanently step away from the Russia investigation at that time.

Instead, Chairman Nunes is still involved in the Russia investigation and has continued to abuse his position. He has shown little interest in getting to the bottom of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, which is the purpose of the Committee investigation.

According to the letter:

In his latest effort, Chairman Nunes and his staff have prepared a classified document that reportedly claims abuses have been committed by FBI and Justice Department officials. This undisclosed document has been used by outside Trump supporters to attack Special Counsel Mueller, the Justice Department and the FBI, and to demand that the classified document be publicly released.

The letter also noted that “Chairman Nunes has reportedly refused to make his memo available to the Justice Department and the FBI to review.”

According to the letter:

On January 24, 2018, Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to Chairman Nunes about the classified memo. The letter stated, “We believe it would be extraordinarily reckless for the Committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the Department [of Justice] and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum and to advise the HPSCI on the risk of harm to national security and to ongoing investigations that could come from public release.”

The letter from the Justice Department further stated, “Additionally, we believe that wider distribution of the classified information presumably contained within your memorandum would represent a significant deviation from the terms of access negotiated in good faith by the Department, HPSCI, and the office of Speaker Paul Ryan.”

The letter to Speaker Ryan stated:

Under these circumstances, it would be wrong to release the irresponsible Nunes memo to the public – a memo which is, according to the Justice Department, based on underlying documents that Chairman Nunes hasn’t read, and that represents a violation of the agreement that you and Chairman Nunes made with the Justice Department.

The letter concluded:

Nevertheless, if the memo is wrongly released or leaked to the public, in whole or in part, then as Speaker, it is your institutional responsibility to the American people to ensure that all information necessary to determine the truth and accuracy of the Nunes memo is also quickly made available to the public, consistent with legitimate restrictions on the release of classified and sensitive law enforcement information. We call on you to meet this obligation.

We also call on you to act promptly to remove Chairman Nunes from any further participation in any aspect of the Russia investigation.

Signers of the letter are:

American Oversight

Coalition to Preserve, Protect and Defend

Common Cause

CREW

Demand Progress Action

Democracy 21

Equal Justice Society

Free Speech for People

Justin Hendrix

Kathleen Clark

MoveOn.org

Amb. (ret.) Norman Eisen, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2009-2011

People for the American Way

Public Citizen

Revolving Door Project

Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2005-2007

Attachments: (1 total)

Intelligence Committee to Meet at 5 pm According to HPSCI Calendar

The United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) is a committee of the United States House of Representatives, currently chaired by Congressman Devin Nunes (California). Created in 1977, HPSCI is charged with oversight of the United States Intelligence Community—which includes the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the following seventeen elements of the U.S. Government—and the Military Intelligence Program.

January 29 at 5 pm:

Meeting: Full Committee Business Meeting: Consideration of Pending Committee Business and Other Matters

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence


There is no published agenda other than “pending committee business and other matters.”

The agenda indicates it will be a full committee, so these are the reps that should be there for the meeting.

Speculation continues that the committee will vote on the release of the controversial memo written by Chair Devin Nunes.

HPSCI Majority Members

HPSCI Minority Members

Adam Schiff, Ranking Member
28th District of California
Jim Himes
4th District of Connecticut
Terri Sewell
7th District of Alabama
Andre Carson
7th District of Indiana
Jackie Speier
14th District of California

Mike Quigley
5th District of Illinois

Eric Swalwell
15th District of California

Joaquin Castro
20th District of Texas

Denny Heck
10th District of Washington

And from Twitter today:

“Release the Memo” Firsthand Reports; Wikileaks Offers $1million Reward