The Federal Bureau of Investigation officially released a public statement Wednesday opposing the declassification of the controversial FISA memo, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who authored the memo, responded.
Here’s the statement from the FBI about the FISA memo:
“The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI,” the statement read. “We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process.”
“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum,” it continued, “the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it.”
“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” it concluded.
The memo reportedly contains a four-page summary of the Inspector General’s investigation into alleged improprieties at the FBI and the Department of Justice in regards to FISA warrants on Trump campaign officials during the 2016 election.
Here’s how Devin Nunes responded
Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the author of the memo, responded to the statement by the FBI soon after it was released.
“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year,” his statement read, “it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies.
“The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts,” he added, “and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses.”
“Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign,” he concluded. “Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.”
Why is this important?
Nunes makes explicit the accusation that many have made based on the memo and other evidence that the Department of Justice used faulty information in order to seek approval of surveillance on the Trump campaign for political purposes.
Others have said that if the accusations are true, it would completely undermine the authority under which special counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into Russian election interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign.