Normally, even the existence of such material is a closely guarded secret. While applications for criminal wiretaps often eventually become public, the government has refused to disclose the contents of applications for intelligence wiretaps — even to defendants who are later prosecuted on the basis of information derived from them.

But President Trump lowered the shield of secrecy surrounding such materials on Friday by declassifying the Republican memo about Mr. Page, after finding that the public interest in disclosing its contents outweighed any need to protect the information. Because Mr. Trump did so, the Times argues, there is no longer a justification “for the Page warrant orders and application materials to be withheld in their entirety,” and “disclosure would serve the public interest.”