Tuesday, January 30, 2018


BostonGlobe |  The memo, which was made available to all members of the House, is said to contend that officials from the two agencies were not forthcoming to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge. 

Republicans accuse the agencies of failing to disclose that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign helped finance research that was used to obtain a warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. The research presented to the judge was assembled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele.

The memo is not limited to actions taken by the Obama administration, though. The New York Times reported Sunday that the memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, a top Trump appointee, signed off an application to extend the surveillance of Page shortly after taking office last spring. 

The renewal shows that the Justice Department under Trump saw reason to believe Page was acting as a Russian agent.

The inclusion of Rosenstein’s action in the memo could expose him to criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from conservatives in the media who have seized on the surveillance to argue that the Russia inquiry may have been tainted from the start. 

Rosenstein is overseeing that investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. It was Rosenstein who appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel.

People familiar with the underlying application have portrayed the Republican memo as misleading in part because Steele’s information was insufficient to meet the standard for a FISA warrant. 

They said the application drew on other intelligence material that the Republican memo selectively omits. That other information remains highly sensitive, and releasing it would risk burning other sources and methods of intelligence-gathering about Russia.

There is no known precedent for the Republicans’ action. Though House rules allow the Intelligence Committee to vote to disclose classified information if it is deemed to be in the public interest, the rule is not thought to have ever been used. 

Typically, lawmakers wishing to make public secretive information classified by the executive branch spend months, if not years, fighting with the White House and the intelligence community over what they can release.