Speaker Ryan Defends Memo Declassification

Posted: Feb 02, 2018 2:00 PM
Speaker Ryan Defends Memo Declassification

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who defended House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's intentions for wanting to release the FBI abuses memo at this week's GOP retreat, is still defending him after the fact. 

The contents of the four-page memo reveal how the FBI used an unsubstantiated dossier to seek FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election, including former foreign policy advisor Carter Page. Ryan told the press that Nunes, in wanting to compile and release the memo, is trying keep Americans "safe." Its release, he added, will help usher in a new era of accountability in our intelligence community.

Ryan released the following statement Friday after President Trump approved the memo's declassification.

"The matter of concern outlined in this memo is a specific, legitimate one. Our FISA system is critical to keeping America safe from real and evolving threats. It is a unique system with broad discretion and a real impact on Americans’ civil liberties. Unlike most judicial proceedings, the FISA system depends not on an adversarial process, but instead on the government providing a complete presentation of the facts and circumstances underlying its warrant applications. It is clear from this memo that didn’t happen in this case, and as a consequence an American’s civil liberties may have been violated. I also have serious concerns with the practice of using political documents funded by a candidate’s political opponents to make law enforcement and counter-intelligence decisions. Amid all the political rancor, we must be able to work together to ensure the FISA system works as intended and Americans' rights are properly safeguarded. I am glad that this memo helps to provide greater transparency, and I reiterate my support for the similar release of the minority’s memo once it is properly scrubbed of all intelligence sources and methods. It is critical that we focus on specific actions and specific actors and not use this memo to impugn the integrity of the justice system and FBI, which continue to serve the American people with honor."

Ryan's role in the memo release led The Washington Post editorial board to lay all the blame on him for "tarnishing" the House of Representatives.

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Read the full, unredacted memo here.