He said.. she said... is the toughest kind of evidence to present in the courtroom. Each party has their side of the story and they tend to paint the facts from their own perspective. Apparently, this happens in Congress as well.
Last month, Rep.Luke Messer and others in Congress pushed hard for the release of a secret memo drafted by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) of the House Intelligence Committee. Messer claimed the memo featured "troubling information" that should be released to the public. The partisan push to release the memo even prompted a rare public response from the FBI, which stated:“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Today the memo was released by President Trump and promptly posted on the internet for all to see. Its contents are almost comically thin in comparison to the great scandal that Messer and others in the media have been hyping for these past several weeks.
The memo questions the process by which the FBI and DOJ obtained approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to conduct surveillance on former Trump adviser Carter Page. It alleges that the singular basis for the warrant was the so-called “Steele Dossier” research by former British spy Christopher Steele. It also questions the source of the funding for the research and raises Steele’s anti-Trump bias, characterizing a conversation in which he signaled his “passionate” opposition to Trump.
Information about individual FBI agents and others are thrown into the mix as the memo cherry picks out small pieces of a much larger picture and attempts to portray them in a particular light. FISA warrants are very large documents and go through a very extensive process before being issued by the Court. The warrants were renewed on a regular basis even after new new administration took office in 2017. The FBI believed that it 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.
The four-page document itself does not appear to allege that anyone violated federal law, but picks out allegations of improper conduct by a list of high-ranking FBI and Justice Department officials during the Obama administration. This is an assault on the integrity of the U.S. Intelligence Community and an effort to quash or constrain the current investigation by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller. There are those that have been touting this memo as the blockbuster that will bring the entire Russia investigation crashing down. However, Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election will still continue as will investigations being conducted by Congress itself. Ultimately, the truth will come out.
We should be concerned that these actions are relegating the power of the United States Congress from its important oversight functions to constant political bickering over issues that go to the heart of the security of this nation. We all lose when government institutions like the FBI and the Department of Justice become nothing more than partisan talking points on cable news shows. Americans, both at home and abroad, who risk their lives to protect this nation on a daily basis, are endangered when confidential sources are leaked and operational security is compromised. We deserve better. We deserve to be safe. #Allofus
Here is the memo that @RepLukeMesser called for the release of on January 19th.