February 2, 2018

Nunes (HPSCI) Memo Released

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 4:30 pm

United_States_House_Permanent_Select_Committee_on_IntelligenceHere is the six-page package (authorization/declassification letter and four-page memorandum) released February 2, 2018,  by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).  The memorandum’s subject is Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In reading the memorandum’s header including its classification, we can clearly see the memo was written to and for the HPSCI Majority Members, and it was prepared by the HPSCI Majority Staff.   The Majority and Minority Staffs and Members would already have had access to some and maybe all of the underlying information from which the memo was derived.

Already the FBI and others have criticized the memo’s release, asserting that some information essential to fully understanding the memo has been omitted.  Again, the memo’s intended recipients had access to that information; incidental recipients such as the public may not.

It is my understanding that the HPSCI Minority Staff may have prepared its own version of this memo as a counterpoint to the memo linked above.

I hope that after being sanitized using the same standards as were used to sanitize the memo linked above, the HPSCI Minority Staff’s own memo will be timely released to the public as well.

As for the efforts to devalue and discredit the memo by pointing out the obvious absence of the underlying information necessary to more fully understand the memo, the remedy is obvious:  Sanitize all the information and release it to the public.  Shine more light, not less, on the alleged abuses of the FISA by the DoJ and FBI.  This proposed massive public release of sanitized information is very unlikely to happen.

Then again …

According to this Judicial Watch press release issued February 2, 2018, “Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI documents regarding the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant application submitted to – and responses from – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00245)).”

Even prior to the memo’s release today, there have been Congressmen calling for yet another special counsel to look into the FBI’s conduct in the Clinton email server and Uranium One investigation.  That, however, is already under investigation by the DoJ’s Inspector General, and his report is expected sometime in March 2018.

I believe it would be wise for everyone to calm down and wait for the DoJ OIG’s report.  It may answer many relevant questions factually rather than speculatively.

In any case and as suggested in my January 10, 2018, OpenCdA post entitled So It Never Happens Again …, I believe that an independent commission similar to the Warren Commission would be a better alternative to yet another politicized special counsel.  Both the FBI and the DoJ have longstanding internal problems at the executive level (Mahogany Row).   Particularly at Main Justice, these problems extend beyond the current allegations of FISA abuses.

Even if FBI Director Wray and Attorney General Sessions have the political will and the horsepower necessary to pump the septic sludge out of their own tanks, they would benefit from a little more help in shining light into the tanks and exorcising the most stubborn stuff.  A Warren Commission-like effort could help wall them off from interference by executive, legislative, and judicial partisan politics.


  1. Unbelievable, waiting for the next breathless episode of the “MEMO.” The media spin is unrelenting. I want to see those “source” documents, just way too much out there to speculate, however, I cannot help myself and I am wondering if some of the paperwork might include former President Obama’s signature?

    Comment by Stebbijo — February 5, 2018 @ 4:19 pm

  2. Stebbijo,

    I just posted the redacted memo released by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

    It is very doubtful that any of the supporting documents had Obama’s signature. None of the formal FISA application documents should contain his signature since the President is not specifically authorized to sign them.

    Comment by Bill — February 5, 2018 @ 5:33 pm

  3. I read that a President can authorize surveillance/wiretapping, so I am wondering without any published source documents, what may have happened? If the argument is national security, then what/who are they really protecting amidst this Russian collusion story? Way too much drama and nothing … that is still nothing, so what is the big deal?

    Comment by Stebbijo — February 5, 2018 @ 7:05 pm

  4. Stebbijo,

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is codified in the US Code at Title 18, Chapter 36. Your comment about Presidential warrantless authorization is covered in 18 USC § 1802.

    It is complicated and often a tangled legal mess, but that is why it is so important that the DoJ and FBI adhere scrupulously to the law. Nonconsensual interceptions, properly supervised by the appropriate court and authorized by the proper court order, are immensely useful investigative tools. Knowing or even grossly ignorant abuse of them will result in the tool being taken away. It can also result in jail time if the violator knowingly violated the law or lied to the judge.

    Comment by Bill — February 5, 2018 @ 7:59 pm

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