House Intel Dems Claim Memo 'Mischaracterizes' Information, Lacks 'Vital Context'

Posted: Feb 02, 2018 1:50 PM

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a statement Friday in response to the Republicans' decision to release the Intelligence Committee memo that details the FBI allegedly committing surveillance abuses during the 2016 election by using the infamous Fusion GPS dossier to obtain a FISA warrant against members of the Trump campaign, including former foreign policy advisor Carter Page.

The minority claims the memo mischaracterizes information and omits key details.

“The Republican document mischaracterizes highly sensitive classified information that few Members of Congress have seen, and which Chairman Nunes himself chose not to review,” they claim. “It fails to provide vital context and information contained in DOJ’s FISA application and renewals, and ignores why and how the FBI initiated, and the Special Counsel has continued, its counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s election interference and links to the Trump campaign.”

Their statement also tries to tie the memo’s release to a Republican attempt to “insulate” the president.

“The sole purpose of the Republican document is to circle the wagons around the White House and insulate the President,” they wrote. “Tellingly, when asked whether the Republican staff who wrote the memo had coordinated its drafting with the White House, the Chairman refused to answer."

“The selective release and politicization of classified information sets a terrible precedent and will do long-term damage to the Intelligence Community and our law enforcement agencies,” they add.

They go on to argue that the FBI “had good reason to be concerned about Carter Page and would have been derelict in its responsibility to protect the country had it not sought a FISA warrant.”

The Democrats say the context in which the FBI sought a FISA warrant for Page would be better understood with the release of the Democrats’ response memo.

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The Democratic minority say they will again be seeking a vote to release their response memo publicly on Monday. 

“Unlike Committee Republicans, however, we will ask the relevant agencies to propose any necessary redactions to protect any sources and methods not already disclosed by Chairman Nunes’ document,” they add. 

A spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated that he is fine with releasing the Democratic response memo.

“The speaker is in favor of greater transparency," Ryan's spokeswoman Ashlee Strong told The Hill. "If it is scrubbed to ensure it does not reveal sources and methods of our intelligence gathering, the speaker supports the release of the Democrats' memo."