02.02.18

BREAKING: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Release Of The Nunes Memo

For years I have been leading calls in the Senate to protect our civil liberties and reform our surveillance authorities under FISA.  The President and House Republicans’ decision to release the Nunes memo has absolutely nothing to do with what is wrong with FISA — including unrelated provisions that allow for warrantless surveillance of Americans.  Nor does this poisoned, partisan memo have anything to do with serious oversight of FISA authorities more broadly.  The memo deliberately omits key facts and intentionally distorts the multilayered process led by rank and file national security professionals that is required to obtain and renew a judicial warrant for a suspected foreign agent.  In this case that meticulous process led to a warrant for Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, an individual targeted for recruitment by known Russian spies even before he joined the President’s team.

While the memo reveals nothing about the FISA process, it reveals a lot about the President and House Republicans who released it.  It represents yet another desperate, cynical, hyper-partisan attempt to smear key Justice Department officials and undermine the Russia investigation.  It is more important than ever that the Special Counsel be able to complete his investigation without further interference from the President or his allies in Congress.  

What most concerns me today is that a foreign adversary attacked our democracy in 2016, suffered no consequences, and is poised to do it again.  Yet the President has done nothing but attack the very people who defend our country from such foreign assaults — our dedicated law enforcement and intelligence professionals.  Perhaps the President needs to ask himself what team HE is on. 

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David Carle: 202-224-3693