'Nunes memo' revelations prove the FBI makes up its own rules

'Nunes memo' revelations prove the FBI makes up its own rules
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It’s no coincidence that Democrats have gone apoplectic about the memo. It clearly shows that the FBI, under the direction of then-Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWarren: Officials have duty ‘to invoke 25th amendment’ if they think Trump is unfit McCabe: Trump 'may have' committed a crime in blocking Russia probe Trump: 'Disgraced' McCabe, Rosenstein look like they were planning 'very illegal act' MORE and Deputy Director Andy McCabe, presented paid political dirt to the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court in order to obtain warrants to spy on American citizens.

These are effectively Gestapo-like tactics. There is no other word for it. You can read the memo here.

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All the awesome, intrusive powers of the U.S. government’s intelligence apparatus were turned against U.S. citizens based the opposition research file of the political party then in power. And those powers were then directed against people in the opposition party, starting with Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page.

 

There also is no wonder why Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears ‘Fox & Friends’ host asks if McCabe opening FBI probe into Trump was attempt to ‘overthrow government’ Nunes says GOP lawmakers looking through Russia transcripts, will make DOJ referrals MORE (R-Calif.) and his staff tread so carefully in composing the memo to summarize highly-classified intelligence information about this unethical and compromising misuse of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act.

Their factual rendition shows that the senior-most leadership of both the FBI and the Department of Justice misled the intelligence court about the origin of the opposition research and the author’s anti-Trump bias to obtain warrants to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens associated with the Trump campaign, and later, the Trump transition team.

“Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then- DAG (Deputy Attorney General) Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesFrom border to Mueller, Barr faces challenges as attorney general Hillicon Valley: House Intel panel will release Russia interviews | T-Mobile, Sprint step up merger push | DHS cyber office hosting webinars on China | Nest warns customers to shore up password security House Intel panel votes to release Russia interview transcripts to Mueller MORE, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Warren: Officials have duty ‘to invoke 25th amendment’ if they think Trump is unfit McCabe: Trump 'may have' committed a crime in blocking Russia probe MORE each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DoJ,” the memo states.

The memo makes clear that from the get-go, the “essential” basis for making the application to the court to spy on American citizens was the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and paid for in part by the Democratic National Committee.

It says that McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee in December that without the information from the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrant for Page would have been sought and, in September 2016, Steele admitted to deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr — another partisan Democrat — that he was “desperate that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”

Ohr “recorded” that information, which was subsequently found in official FBI files. But it was “not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications,” the memo states.

In other words, both the Department of Justice, then controlled by Loretta Lynch and her deputy, Sally Yates, and the FBI, then run by Comey and McCabe, apparently found it perfectly normal that the source of the information they used to justify “probable cause” to the Court was a dedicated political enemy of candidate Donald Trump.

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Why did they find such an outrageous abuse of investigative protocol on the books to be perfectly normal? There can be only one reason: because they shared Christopher Steele’s belief.  

There’s another reason why the FBI was lobbying so hard to prevent the release of the memo: It calls into question the wisdom of allowing the U.S. government to ever turn its awesome surveillance powers against a U.S. citizen.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Schiff: Evidence of collusion between Trump campaign, Russia 'pretty compelling' Schiff: 'Hard to imagine a poorer case' than Trump's on emergency declaration MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, to apologize for his efforts to cover up this disgraceful abuse by partisan Democrats of the intelligence community.

His latest effort has been to get Twitter and Facebook to remove accounts that used the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo over the past few weeks. Schiff is so proud of himself over these tactics that he put out a press release commending himself, along with his letters to the social media companies.

No administration should be allowed to mis-use the intelligence community, or the surveillance court, in this manner. It’s the fastest way for us to become a police state — a fate America narrowly dodged in November 2016.

Kenneth R. Timmerman was the 2012 Republican Congressional nominee for MD-8 and is the author of "Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary & Obama Blamed for Benghazi," published by Post Hill Press.