We already noted the opposing perspectives of those in the media with regard the Nunes' memo as being on the one hand "a nothing-burger" and on the other "we have never ever in history seen anything like this."
And we have heard from current ("talk is cheap... keep calm and tackle hard") and former ("dishonest and misleading") heads of The FBI.
But now we get to hear from the rank-and-file of America's intelligence agencies and, once again, the perspectives could not be further apart...
First, as The Hill reports, a former FBI agent says in a new op-ed that he has left the nation's top law enforcement agency due to the "relentless" attacks on the bureau from critics such as President Trump and congressional Republicans.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, former supervisory special agent Josh Campbell wrote that "political attacks on the bureau must stop."
"After more than a decade of service, which included investigating terrorism, working to rescue kidnapping victims overseas and being special assistant to the director, I am reluctantly turning in my badge and leaving an organization I love." Campbell wrote.
"Why? So I can join the growing chorus of people who believe that the relentless attacks on the bureau undermine not just America’s premier law enforcement agency but also the nation’s security," he continued.
"My resignation is painful, but the alternative of remaining quiet while the bureau is tarnished for political gain is impossible."
Campbell also defended the agency's involvement in the events described in the memo, which alleges the FBI and Department of Justice abused their surveillance powers.
"[E]very statement of fact included in an affidavit for foreign intelligence collection must withstand the scrutiny of at least 10 people in the Department of Justice hierarchy before it is reviewed by an independent court," he wrote.
Campbell goes on to argue it would be "disingenuous" for Republicans to argue that the FBI is "plotting from within" against Trump or in favor of his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, despite text messages between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page seeming to confirm Strzok's political bias against Trump.
"These political attacks on the bureau must stop. If those critics of the agency persuade the public that the FBI cannot be trusted, they will also have succeeded in making our nation less safe," he said.
Campbell's op-ed comes after the publication Friday of Nunes' memo allegedly detailing abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the FBI.
However, another former intelligence agency operative saw things very differently.
Ray McGovern, 27-year veteran of the CIA and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), exclaims the newly released "Nunes Memo" reveals felony wrongdoing by top members of the FBI and DOJ for misrepresenting evidence to obtain a FISA warrant and may implicate other intelligence officials.
The long-awaited House Intelligence Committee report made public today identifies current and former top officials of the FBI and the Department of Justice as guilty of the felony of misrepresenting evidence required to obtain a court warrant before surveilling American citizens. The target was candidate Donald Trump’s adviser Carter Page.
The main points of what is widely known as the “Nunes Memo,” after the House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have been nicely summarized by blogger Publius Tacitus, who noted that the following very senior officials are now liable for contempt-of-court charges; namely, the current and former members of the FBI and the Department of Justice who signed off on fraudulent applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: James Comey, Andy McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Rob Rosenstein. The following is Publius Tacitus’s summary of the main points:
- The dubious but celebrated Steele Dossier played a critical role in obtaining approval from the FISA court to carry out surveillance of Carter Page according to former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe.
- Christopher Steele was getting paid by the DNC and the FBI for the same information.
- No one at the FBI or the DOJ disclosed to the court that the Steele dossier was paid for by an opposition political campaign.
- The first FISA warrant was obtained on October 21, 2016 based on a story written by Michael Isikoff for Yahoo News based on information he received directly from Christopher Steele — the FBI did not disclose in the FISA application that Steele was the original source of the information.
- Christopher Steele was a long-standing FBI “source” but was terminated as a source after telling Mother Jones reporter David Corn that he had a relationship with the FBI.
- The FBI signers of the FISA applications/renewals were James Comey (three times) and Andrew McCabe.
- The DOJ signers of the FISA applications/renewals were Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein.
- Even after Steele was terminated by the FBI, he remained in contact with Deputy Attorney General Bruce Our, whose wife worked for FUSION GPS, a contractor that was deeply involved with the Steele dossier.
From what Michael Isikoff reported in September 2016 it appears that the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence (as well as the FBI) are implicated in spreading the disinformation about Trump and Russia. Isikoff wrote:
“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue. […]
“But U.S. officials have since received intelligence reports that during that same three-day trip, Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian deputy prime minister who is now the executive chairman of Rosneft, Russian’s leading oil company, a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News.”
Who were the “intelligence officials” briefing the select members of the House and Senate? That will be one of the next shoes to drop. We are likely to learn in the coming days that John Brennan and Jim Clapper were also trying to help the FBI build a fallacious case against Trump, adds Tacitus.
Indeed, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has already indicated that his disclosures in the Nunes Memo represent just “one piece of a probably much larger mosaic of what went on.”
The Media Will Determine What Comes Next
As for Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, it is now abundantly clear why he went to ridiculous lengths, as did the entire Democratic congressional leadership, to block or impugn the House Intelligence Committee report.
Until the mid-December revelations of the text messages between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page turned Russia-gate into FBI/DOJ-gate, Schiff had been riding high, often hiding behind what he said “he could not tell” the rest of us.
With the media, including what used to be the progressive media, fully supporting the likes of Adam Schiff, and the FBI/CIA/NSA deep state likely to pull out all the stops, the die is now cast. We are in for a highly interesting time over the next months.
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So - which is it? Crime of the century, or political grandstanding, or both?