The chairman of the House Permanent Select on Intelligence issued a statement Wednesday dismissing objections from the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the four-page memorandum the committee developed to document FBI abuses during the 2016 political cycle.
“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies,” said Rep. Devin G. Nunes (R.-Calif.), who has criticized how President Barack Obama’s administration exploited the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor its political opponents.
Nunes said the FBI is well aware of how it has tried to slow-walk the committee’s investigations.
“The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses,” he said.
Although the House intel committee voted Monday to release the memo to the public, the committee’s own rules give the president five days to block a release of committee documents that rely on classified materials.
When President Donald J. Trump left the House chamber Tuesday after his State of the Union address, he told Rep. Jeffery D. Duncan (R.-S.C.) that it was “100 percent” certain that he would approve the memo’s release.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 31, 2018
Nunes also said that he is concerned that the FBI and DOJ used the so-called “Steele Dossier” to justify its surveillance program. This dossier was crafted by Christopher Steele, a veteran of British intelligence service, as an opposition research file focused on Trump and his suspected links to the Russian government that was paid for by the presidential campaign of Hillary R. Clinton.
“Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign,” Nunes said.
“Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.”