The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is likely to vote today to declassify and release a memo alleging the Obama Department of Justice abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to spy on Trump campaign associates, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The scheduling of the vote was confirmed by a congressional source familiar with the committee’s activities. The committee meets today at 5 p.m. EST.
The four-page memo reportedly authored by California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, is the product of many documents the committee recently reviewed from the Justice Department. It could reveal the Obama administration used the salacious Fusion GPS “Trump Dossier” to trigger surveillance of Trump campaign aides after the 2016 election, as some Republicans have alleged.
Today’s declassification vote has to be approved by President Donald Trump. He has five days to officially approve its declassification. If he does, the public will get its first glimpse at the inner workings of the Obama administration to undermine the Trump campaign aides and later transition officials.
The House Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committees are attempting to determine if the Obama administration claimed the dossier was truthful in proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which paved the ways for surveillance of Trump associates and transition officials. Republicans have contended the Obama administration knowingly used the unverified information to trick the court into approving the surveillance warrants.
Fusion GPS hired former British MI-6 agent Christopher Steele to author the completely unverified dossier. Fusion GPS peddled the document to major news organizations, which considered it so unreliable they refused to publish it.
The dossier relied on unnamed Russian sources who charged Trump had been compromised by the Russian government. It also contained personally derogatory information about Trump as a candidate, including salacious information widely regarded as false.
The memo alleges that Christopher Steele lied to FBI agents during an interview of their probe of the 2016 election, according to the Washington Post, citing “individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”
The Post also reported the Obama administration allegedly used the unverified information in the dossier to influence the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court to conduct electronic surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid $1 million to Fusion GPS for the salacious document.
Once the surveillance was in place, the Obama administration could ask the National Security Agency to identify or “unmask” Trump aides who were talking to foreign nationals. After the White House possessed the information, unnamed Obama administration officials allegedly leaked the information to friendly news organizations.
Reportedly the “unmasking” was used widely by former national security advisor Susan Rice and other top members who headed Obama’s intelligence agencies. Rice has said her unmasking requests were lawful, a point of contention among congressional Republicans and the White House.
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