Thursday, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, will take the unprecedented steps to release a memo written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Congressman Devin Nunes, (R-CA) regarding what procedures were taken to obtain a FISA warrant to surveille a campaign advisor to then candidate Trump, Carter Page. The document known as “the memo” was created by the GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee without the input of the Democratic members.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), has spoken out against this memo and has stated that the memo is not an accurate picture of how the surveillance occurred against Carter Page and the Trump campaign. Schiff is not the only voice to object to the release, Christopher Wray, Trump’s appointee who heads the FBI and Rod Rosenstein, who heads the Justice Department have spoken to the White House and stressed how important it is to keep this report out of the public’s views. Why are these people so against the 4-page memo?
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA warrant is when the FBI believes there is reasonable information and evidence that surveillance is needed on an individual. To even apply for this warrant, agents must show probable cause that this is necessary. For the Carter Page warrant one part of the evidence that was used was Page trips to Russia where he had contact with agents for Russia. One of those who Carter had connect with was known to the intelligence agency in the US and others abroad, was a recruiter for the Russian spy network. There were reported intercepts of information that were also used as a basis for the warrant.
The release of this memo will not however show what attachments were seen by the Judge who signed off on the warrant. The warrant however did not just end with the FBI asking for one. No, the procedure also entails the application going through channels in the Justice Department. But when the President releases the Nunes memo the public will not be able to see those attachments or the steps taken to obtain the warrant. The other problem with the release is that the FBI has stated that the information in the memo contains classified information which will tip off those the FBI already has surveillance on or will serve a blueprint as to how not be surveilled.
Whatever the outcome, it appears that the White House has decided that attacking the intelligence community which undermines the public’s trust, is in their best interest. As the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the Presidential election in 2016, and the possible links to the Trump campaign, it may well be removing the public’s trust in the US intelligence agencies is exactly what the White House wants to achieve.
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