FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Nunes Memo Only Partially “Vindicates” Trump, but it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

On February 2, US president Donald Trump approved public release of a memo from the US House Intelligence Committee concerning FBI malfeasance  in its applications for warrants to surveil Carter Page, a former member of his campaign team.

The following day, Trump triumphantly tweeted that the memo “totally vindicates” him in the ongoing “Russiagate” probe. It doesn’t really do that — proving a negative is always difficult — but it does add a great deal of credibility to his charge that the probe is a politically driven witch hunt rather than a serious criminal investigation.

According to the memo, the FBI based the probable cause claim in its multiple surveillance applications  to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge on two pieces of “evidence”:

1) A “minimally corroborated” (the FBI’s own words) dossier of political opposition research on Donald Trump, compiled by a British former spy in the pay of Trump’s political opponents; and

2) A Yahoo! News article based — although the FBI denied it — on leaks from that same foreign operative.

The memo also claims that at no point did the FBI apprise the judge of the political origins or “minimal corroboration” of the memo.

If these claims are true, then what happened was the equivalent of  crazy Uncle J. Edgar going before a judge and using a picture of me with a Frisbee [TM] in the air behind me, taken by my angry ex-wife, as probable cause to believe that I’m from Mars, then asking for a warrant to search my garage for flying saucers.

As you may recall, this is the same FBI which (and the same FBI director who) amassed mountains of evidence that Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election had committed multiple felonies in her grossly negligent handling of classified information as Secretary of State, yet recommended against prosecuting her because, well, she’s Hillary Clinton.

And as you may also recall, this is the same FISA court that, between 1979 and 2013 approved 35,434 warrant requests and denied 12.

How many of those 35,434 requests were backed by evidence no more substantial than that described in the Nunes memo?

How much more dumb and evidenceless did those 12 denied requests have to be to not get a pass?

And why did the same Republican Congress which just released this memo recently vote to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, giving even more expansive powers to organizations which have clearly used those powers abusively and without regard to even minimal standards of evidence?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Did Trump and/or his campaign team “collude” with the Russian government to manipulate the 2016 presidential election? I don’t know. But I do know that disguising a circus as an investigation isn’t likely  to shed real light on the matter.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail