(National Sentinel) Politicized Intel: John Fund, the longtime columnist for National Review, noted this week that the so-called “FISA memo” released last week by the House Intelligence Committee documents how the political establishment under President Barack Obama sought to “bury scandals and avoid accountability” through overclassification.
“Leaving aside all of the hyperbole and smokescreens surrounding the Nunes memo, one indisputable fact stands out. Many leading Democrats asserted confidently that the memo would expose national-security information and damage the ability of our intelligence agencies to function,” Fund wrote.
“The memo released Friday — which did not have a single word redacted — clearly contained lots of information on intelligence-agency abuses. Here’s what it did not contain: secrets vital to national security,” he added.
Fund went on to point out that the FBI, Justice Department and leading Democrats all issued dire warnings over the memo’s release, claiming it would compromise national security and hurt the country:
Yet, just the day before the memo was released, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) sent a letter to House speaker Paul Ryan, (R., Wis.) warning of the damage that “dangerous partisanship” could do to the country if the memo were released. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) called the memo “dangerous” and “illegitimate” and declared that the House Intelligence Committee had ignored warnings from the FBI and Justice Department and was behaving with a “dangerous irresponsibility and disregard for our national security.”
The FBI issued a statement warning of “grave” consequences if the memo was released. So far, none of these players has since apologized for their misleading statements or explained why they made them.
All of this opens a broader issue: To what extent do our leaders seek to bury abuses, prevent accountability, and sweep embarrassing information under the rug by exaggerating national-security threats? To a great extent, I fear, and the ploy has become a “last refuge among scoundrels” — even more so than hyper-patriotism has become.
None of the dire predictions about harming national security have been borne out, however.
As we reported, the FISA Memo, which was released by the House Intelligence Committee, documented serial abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court involving the use of an unsubstantiated political document in order to obtain a warrant to spy on a member of the Trump campaign.
“The Nunes-memo episode should teach us that in future we should take the more hysterical claims of those who may have something to hide with a pillar of salt,” Fund wrote.
“Of course, we should scrupulously guard against unwarranted release of sensitive information,” he continued. “But we should also remember the words of Supreme Court (J)ustice Louis Brandeis who said, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’”
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