Buck Sexton: The FISA memo is a 'deep state' bombshell

The Nunes memo is out, and it is a stunning rebuke of the prevailing Democrat narrative on Trump-Russia collusion. It shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that extreme abuses of authority and bad faith were instrumental in getting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to approve a counterintelligence warrant that circumvents normal 4th Amendment processes for an American citizen.

This is a deeply concerning development, one for which there must be accountability at the government level, and a complete rethinking of the entire Russia collusion storyline that has news coverage for over a year.

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What is most important is what the memo verifies that was already widely believed: the “Steele dossier,” an opposition research document Christopher Steele compiled that was paid for in part by the DNC on behalf of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Trump says he's not prepared to lose in 2020 MORE, was in fact used as justification for a highly sensitive FISA warrant on Carter Page.

 

There can no longer be any doubt — oppo research was used to weaponize the intelligence collection process on behalf of one American political party against the other during a presidential election.

It gets worse. We now know that, despite the highly dubious provenance of this dossier, senior DOJ and FBI officials never once, in three renewals of the FISA request, told the secret court about the dossier’s origins. Some may try to chalk this up to an oversight, or hide in the tangled legalese of intelligence law, but it is an appalling breach of judgment and ethics.  

It defies belief and common sense that seasoned lawyers and investigators like James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden is the least electable candidate — here's why Top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann lands book deal Trump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president MORE, Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe says it's 'absolutely' time to launch impeachment inquiry into Trump Feds gone wild: DOJ's stunning inability to prosecute its own bad actors Comey: Trump peddling 'dumb lies' MORE, Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr would have missed the massive significance of this omission. The much more likely explanation is that they felt they could get away with it, and stopping Trump was more important than fulfilling their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Their motivation for such an abuse appears to be that some or all of them shared the feelings of Steele, a British national, who according to the memo told the FBI he was “desperate that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” The preponderance of the evidence now shows us Steele was not the only one who felt this way.

This looks terrible for all the senior FBI and DOJ executives named in the memo, though none of the inclusions are surprising. Comey, Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesTrump: 'Impossible for me to know' extent of Flynn investigation Mueller didn't want Comey memos released out of fear Trump, others would change stories Sally Yates: Trump would be indicted on obstruction of justice if he were not president MORE and Strzok have long been outed as anti-Trump. It is likely the American people will soon add McCabe, Ohr and Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon MORE to that list, if they have not already.

In terms of the memo itself, the arguments leveled against it in recent days have been exposed as hollow and disingenuous. No serious person who has ever worked in intelligence could make a case — now that the memo is public — that its release jeopardizes sources and methods, or places our national security at risk or any individual in danger. The American people should question those — including elected Democrats and senior DOJ and FBI officials — who were making such a spurious public case about the need for secrecy.

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By no means does this memo end the issue of so-called “deep state” spying on Trump, or the Russia collusion narrative. Those debates will continue on, likely with more ferocity than ever. We now need more disclosures, and even greater transparency into the issue of spying on Trump and the Russia collusion fiasco.

But we now have clear evidence that yes, Trump associates were targets of intelligence surveillance, using a flimsy partisan pretext that only makes sense if those advancing it from the corridors of government power were filled with a judgment-clouding hatred for all things Trump.

This is a bad day for a handful of senior officials within our government, the Democrats who worked so strenuously to keep this information from the light of day, and those in the media who have debased their craft to serve the Russia collusion narrative with no hint of skepticism or even-handedness.

For the American people who want the truth, however, it is just the start.

Buck Sexton is a political commentator, national security analyst and host of "The Buck Sexton Show.” He is a former CIA officer in the Counterterrorism Center, appears frequently on Fox News Channel and CNN and has been a guest radio show host for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Follow Buck on Twitter @BuckSexton.