What struck Gowdy was the general absence of classified information in the memos, or any other reason they should remain secret. Out of a total of seven memos, the FBI had marked four as classified at the “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” levels — not the highest level — but even with those memos, it appeared to Gowdy that they could be released publicly with only minimal blacking-out.

“What would need to be redacted would be incredibly small and really would not interfere with the substance of the memos,” Gowdy told me in a phone conversation Wednesday. “I read them a long time ago, and I still don’t know why they’re not in the public domain. If they were really helpful for the Democrats, they would have been leaked a long time ago.”

Devin Nunes, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has the same view. “Seeing as Comey already admitted leaking information from his memos to the press, I do think the memos should be released publicly,” he said in a statement Wednesday.