Ex-CIA analysts rip Nunes's credibility in op-ed

Three former CIA analysts argued Wednesday that Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Health Care: Official defends suspending insurer payments | What Kavanaugh's nomination means for ObamaCare | Panel approves bill to halt employer mandate House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate Nunes leaves in middle of hearing following questions on Russia probe MORE (Calif.) and other Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee can’t be trusted to defend national security after they pushed for the release of a classified memo that accuses the FBI of abusing surveillance programs.

Former analysts Jeff Asher, Nada Bakos and Cindy Otis wrote in an opinion piece for CNN that Nunes degraded the committee’s effectiveness as an oversight mechanism by politicizing intelligence information.

“Republicans who were so concerned about leaks of classified information during the last year are now pushing for the release of top secret information to the public, cherry-picked to undermine agencies for which they are meant to be stewards,” they wrote.

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“From this point forward, the House Intelligence Committee’s assessment of the intelligence community should be met with skepticism by the public and Congress alike. When we look back on this administration in a few years, we believe this incident will be marked as one of the worst cases of politicization of intelligence in modern American history,” they added.

The GOP-compiled four-page memo released last week accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the "Steele dossier" — opposition research into then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE that was paid for in part by the Democratic National Committee — to obtain surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Some Republicans and Trump himself have pointed to the memo as proof the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is biased against Trump. The president tweeted Saturday morning that the document “totally vindicates” him. 

Democrats and former intelligence leaders, however, have bashed the memo as a partisan effort to delegitimize investigations into Russian election meddling.

Asher, Bakos and Otis wrote Wednesday that Nunes has undermined his own claims, such as when he admitted he had not read the application for a warrant from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that is the subject of the memo and when he acknowledged later that the FBI actually did tell the court of the "political origins" of the dossier.

“The memo itself would not pass a college writing class because it does not support its main thesis,” the ex-CIA officials wrote. 

“Nunes recently acknowledged on ‘Fox & Friends’ that the FBI did indeed disclose the political origins of the Steele dossier, but he expressed his dissatisfaction that it was in the form of a footnote,” they added.

Democrats have pushed for the release of a memo of their own, which they assert will address claims within the Republican memo and fill in context about the warrant application. 

Trump has until Friday to block the publication of the 10-page document, which is classified.