Hypocrisy abounds on all sides when it comes to revealing (and leaking) details from counterintelligence probes, but that doesn’t make it any less noteworthy when it happens. When House Intelligence chair Devin Nunes and other Republicans began agitating for #ReleasetheMemo, ranking member Adam Schiff and other Democrats amplified rebuttals from the FBI and Department of Justice that releasing the four-page Nunes analysis would threaten national security. When Nunes complained that their objections were “spurious,” Democrats accused him of attempting to undermine their authority.
Well, now the shoe’s on the other foot. After reportedly loading up his minority memo with lots of classified intel, suddenly Schiff’s the one complaining about the heavy hands of the FBI and the DoJ:
Rep. Adam Schiff said FBI and Justice Department officials have flagged “everything that isn’t already a matter of public record” from the memo, whose release President Donald Trump blocked last week on national security grounds.
Trump had previously agreed to declassify a Republican memo earlier this month that suggests wrongdoing by senior FBI officials, which Democrats called misleading and a diversion from the federal probe into Trump’s Russia ties.
Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, Schiff speculated that “the White House must have asked” the FBI and Justice Department to raise these broad concerns.
Complaining that the officials’ requests would leave little of value in the memo, Schiff urged a focus on “redactions that are necessary to protect sources and methods.”
Er, why would that be necessary in the first place? After all, Schiff insisted on protecting sources and methods by keeping the Nunes memo classified. He then wrote this memo in response, demanding that Trump also declassify it. Shouldn’t Schiff have prevented the necessity of FBI and DoJ redactions by refraining from including “sources and methods” within his own memo?
Note that he’s not claiming that his memo doesn’t contain such information. Instead, Schiff gives us a not-so-tacit admission from Schiff himself that his memo reveals those sources and methods. Now, why would Schiff do that? Could it be that, as Republicans claimed at the time, that Schiff larded up the memo with highly sensitive material to force Trump to keep it classified and make it look like a cover-up? Hmmmm.
Frankly, this is all nonsense anyway, but Schiff’s is a particularly revealing instance of nonsense. Nunes’ memo didn’t actually reveal any methods and sources, and neither does it count as evidence. It was argument, as would be Schiff’s memo. Both parties should declassify the FISC warrants if they want to provide actual evidence in support of their arguments, and as much of the underlying intelligence cited for those warrants as possible. If it shows the FBI had good reason to surveil Carter Page, so be it, and if it doesn’t, so be it again. Enough of the hypocritical two-ring circus at the House Intelligence Committee.