A House Intelligence Committee memo released Friday describing numerous abuses by the FBI and Justice Department contains no references to either agency’s methods and sourcing, effectively destroying Democratic talking points that releasing the memo would damage the nation’s security.
Nothing in the memo, crafted by House Republicans, specifies intelligence gathering methods or reveals any confidential informants. Instead, the declassified information largely revolves around the publicly available Steele dossier’s relationship in getting a FISA warrant to spy on President Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser Carter Page.
Democratic lawmakers, who had seen the memo prior to its release, described the memo as having potentially catastrophic consequences for the nation’s security.
The memo’s content “endangers methods and sources of the intelligence community,” according to Connecticut Sen. Dick Blumenthal, a Democrat.
There are no references to any specifics in how the FBI collects intelligence in the memo.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, claimed Wednesday that releasing the memo would be “treasonous” and could endangers “fellow Americans in the intelligence community.” Despite Booker’s warnings, the names in the memo are mostly limited to senior FBI officials such as James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Tates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein — not clandestine agents.
Earlier in the week, the Justice Department warned White House Chief of Staff John Kelly about potential damage the memo could cause its agency. It is hard to believe that anything in the memo could harm future investigations, as much of it details how intel collected by former British spy Christopher Steele — who is not a government employee — influenced the FBI’s conduct.
Yet, such details did not stop Democrats from attacking House Republicans Friday afternoon.
Following the White House’s release of the memo, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, called the action “reckless and demonstrates an astonishing disregard for the truth.” The action could “damage” the nation’s “ability to protect Americans from threats around the globe,” he said in a press statement.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, argued that the memo was “an alarming partisan attack on efforts to investigate hostile foreign interference in our democracy.”
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