Well, this is the Battle of the Bulge for the FBI, Department of Justice, and congressional Democrats over the memo war. This is the last gamble—and it’ll fail. For starters, President Trump said the FISA memo, which alleges abuses akin to that of the KGB regarding government surveillance, is going to be released. FBI Director Christopher Ray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made a last ditch effort on Monday, meeting with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to plead their case. It failed. Wray even read the memo last Sunday, with two senior FBI officials saying it contained no factual inaccuracies. Now, Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are going haywire over what they describe as last-minute alterations to the memo. Pelosi has demanded Nunes be stripped of his House Intelligence Committee chairmanship.
There’s just one problem: They requested it, so did the FBI. They were grammatical changes—nothing more. For Democrats, it amounted to a two-word change. This isn’t document shredding in the back offices at midnight. This isn’t some surreptitious plot.
Just talked with House Intel source. Said total changes to memo were: A) Unknown number of 'grammatical and clarifying' fixes. B) One change requested by FBI due to sources & methods concerns. C) One two-word change requested by Democrats for accuracy. House Intel GOP statement: pic.twitter.com/ZkNuMBoLZK— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 1, 2018
Here is the House Intel spokesman's statement on latest Schiff charges. He says edits were minor and included grammatical fixes and tweaks *suggested by the FBI and committee Democrats.* pic.twitter.com/Bxt7dl0npO— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 1, 2018
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel touched upon the fact that this memo meltdown by the Left is irrelevant since the president has already decided to declassify the memo and can release as much or as little as he sees fit. House Republicans on the committee could have re-written the whole memo and it still wouldn't have mattered.
Even if Intel R's rewrote the entire memo before sending to WH, it wouldn't matter. Why? WH has decided to use own authority to declassify the material, and can release as much or little as it wants, written as it likes. This is no longer a House project. Schiff knows this.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) February 1, 2018
Wray and Rosenstein had their chance to argue why memo should not be released. They were overruled, even after other intelligence officials saw it. That they are now campaigning against WH in the media and with statements is pretty outrageous, to say the least. #FullofSchiff— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) February 1, 2018
BREAKING: @FBI Director Christopher Wray and DOJ wants all names redacted from #FISAMemo putting pressure on White House and House Intelligence Committee, Government officials say ... is releasing names a threat to national security?— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) February 1, 2018
“This is no longer a House project, Schiff knows this,” Strassel tweeted. “They [FBI, DOJ] are now campaigning against WH in the media and with statements is pretty outrageous,” she added. Circling back to her op-ed: Operation Sabotage The Memo. The Boyd letter refers to the one Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent to Rep. Nunes (R-CA), warning him releasing this memo would be reckless and possible harm national security:
The bigger, swampier game here is to rally media pressure, and to mau-mau Mr. Nunes into giving the department a veto over the memo’s release. Ask Sen. Chuck Grassley how that goes. Mr. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, recently sent a referral to the department for a criminal probe into dossier author Christopher Steele. He then in good faith asked the department its views on an unclassified portion of that referral that he wants to make public. The department invented a classified reason to block public release, and has refused to budge for weeks.
The Boyd letter is also a first step toward a bigger prize: President Trump. Under House rules, a majority of the Intelligence Committee can vote to declassify the memo. Mr. Trump then has up to five days to object to its release. If he doesn’t object, the memo goes public. If he does, a majority of the House would have to vote to override him.
The shrieks of reckless harm and national security are designed to pressure Mr. Trump to object. And wait for it: In coming days the Justice Department’s protectors will gin up a separate, desperate claim that Mr. Trump will somehow be “interfering” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe unless he objects to the release.
Oh, and you know what else is odd. The FBI statement yesterday condemning the release of the memo omitted the national security dangers.
Notable that in the latest round of FBI/DOJ objections to the release of the House intel memo, earlier claims of dangerous disclosures of sources & methods have vanished.— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 31, 2018
Even some anti-Trump writers weighed in, noting that whatever the reason--it's not "tenable" to keep the position that this information should remain hidden from the public:
Maybe this is a dumb question, but: if The Memo contains misleading information and paints a false narrative (certainly possible) wouldn’t the proper course be to ... release the memo, so it can be publicly evaluated, and its misleading/false nature can be demonstrated?— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 1, 2018
1) GOP’s motives are clearly cynical/have nothing to do with any principled commitment to transparency— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 1, 2018
2) Even so, it’s untenable to end up with a position here that amounts to: “please, government, for our own good: continue concealing this information ”
Hard to see how one can maintain a 100% warranted skepticism of the over-broad US classification regimen and then argue that this particular memo should stay classified because 1) FBI says so, or 2) its release may in some vague sense help Trump— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 1, 2018
Be sure to read Guy’s analysis as well.