Archive for Sunday, February 4, 2018

Editorial: Memo anything but transparent

Release of the infamous GOP paper was sheer political theater that had nothing to do with openness.

February 4, 2018

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It is laughable that some leaders cited “transparency” to justify the release Friday of a controversial memo prepared by the House Intelligence Committee on how surveillance warrants were obtained in the FBI’s investigation into connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

“I’ve always believed in the public’s right to know,” Vice President Mike Pence said in arguing for the memo’s release.

Said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “We have said all along, from day one, that we want full transparency in this process.”

Added House Speaker Paul Ryan, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant. What we want is all this information to come out so that transparency can reign supreme.”

If only their actions matched their rhetoric. Then, all the House Intelligence Committee documents would be declassified and shared with the public.

But releasing a summary of selectively chosen classified information prepared solely by one partisan group with a specific partisan agenda isn’t full transparency. Not even close. At best, it’s political theater. At worst, it’s the kind of behavior more closely aligned with authoritarian dictatorships than free and open democracies.

The memo, which the FBI said was inaccurate and lacked context, alleges that current and former FBI and Justice Department leaders signed off on a surveillance warrant to monitor communications of former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The document asserts that the warrant wrongly relied on opposition research on Trump by Christopher Steele, who was paid in part by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The memo makes other connections between officials involved in helping launch the Russia probe and those opposed to Trump’s election. For example, the memo notes that the wife of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr worked for Fusion GPS which helped cultivate opposition research on Trump. The memo notes that FBI agent Pete Strzok was responsible for counterintelligence information on Trump campaign associate George Papadopoulos. Strzok and his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page exchanged anti-Trump text messages that led to Strzok being reassigned to the FBI’s human resources office.

Trump, who made the ultimate decision to declassify the memo so that it could be released, seized on the memo, arguing that it brings into question the entire Russian investigation.

On Friday, the president tweeted, “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans — something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!”

Are there concerning allegations in the memo? Absolutely. Should they be investigated? Sure. But, as the president’s tweet underscores, the only thing transparent about Friday’s memo was its objective — to discredit Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Full transparency is a pretty high standard that few in government live up to. Suffice to say, the release of Friday’s memo doesn’t come close to qualifying.

Comments

Bob Summers 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The Liberals appear to be going through memopause.

Bob Smith 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm old enough to remember when those on the port side of the aisle reveled in releasing government documents. I suppose it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

Calvin Anders 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The thing to keep in mind about this memo is how much build up there was before it's release. The "revaluations" in the memo, even if they were completely accurate and did actually provide the appropriate level of background and context, are really hardly earth shattering. Congressional Republicans and the President want us to take, at face value, that their very limited and slanted memo, which is supposed to distill key components of an application for a FISA warrant down to a tidy summary. They want us to believe that the FBI misled the the FISA judge. But Congress and the President have failed to give us the necessary details to support their conclusion. So, just as they claim that the FISA judge did not have all the facts, they are not willing to give us all the facts to make an informed decision. And then, after the Republican Congress and the President expect us to take their word for it that the memo is completely truthful and within context, they expect us to take the further step with them that this means the FBI as an organization is conspiring against the Trump administration and hence that the Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt". It's an amazingly stupid leap in logic that required a long build up and media circus preceding the release of the memo. And the media was so very happy to play along.

Bob Smith 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Meanwhile, in the Chicago Tribune: "...What if it came out that a Republican-funded opposition research dossier against presidential candidate Barack Obama was used to obtain a secret FISA warrant to put Obama’s aides under surveillance and take him down? And what if the federal judge who granted the warrant wasn’t told that the partisan oppo-research was the basis of the surveillance warrant? Or, what if senior FBI officials running the investigation of Obama had expressed loathing for the candidate and his voters? What would the Democratic Media Complex be doing? About the same thing they’re doing now, pulling out their hair and screaming like banshees, and wailing about institutional racism and the usual litany of complaints. They’d shriek that the federal FISA judge was lied to by the Deep State to chop the legs from under a president and how the country is going to hell and the Constitution is being trampled..."http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-met-republican-memo-kass-0204-story.html

Gary Stussie 3 months, 2 weeks ago

" selectively chosen classified information prepared solely by one partisan group with a specific partisan agenda i"

Your "liberal" is showing! The "one-sided" view that so concerns you will last about a week.

Do you really think that, with a totally hostile media and a pot full of Obama holdovers in virtually every Executive Agency, REP lawmakers would make "allegations" that could easily be undermined if not true?

BTW ... Information is circulating that the Republican memo made public is just the tip of the iceberg. Ex-FBI Agents are picking up information that the inspector general’s report will be far more graphic in detailing the misconduct of McCabe, Strzok and others. Misconduct that is more serious that in the memo.

Greg Cooper 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"Do you really think that, with a totally hostile media and a pot full of Obama holdovers in virtually every Executive Agency, REP lawmakers would make "allegations" that could easily be undermined if not true?"

One with any modicum of sense would not, but apparently they caught you and the president in their web.

Steve Hicks 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"But releasing a summary of selectively chosen classified information prepared solely by one partisan group with a specific partisan agenda isn’t full transparency. Not even close. At best, it’s political theater. At worst, it’s the kind of behavior more closely aligned with authoritarian dictatorships than free and open democracies."

Well put.

Reality-TV "star" president..."political theater" party: I'm suspecting a causative link here.

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