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The Memo

The controversial memo by the House Intelligence Committee has been released and is available here.

Prior to the release, Kimberly Strassel had this article in the WSJ titled "Memo Reading for Nonpartisans: Ignore the spin. When the document goes public, here's what to look for."

I don't see anything in the memo that constitutes a disclosure that is damaging to our intelligence operations, which would be the primary reason to keep it secret.  In the run-up to release, the FBI maintained that the problem was material omissions.  It certainly is possible to mislead with half-truths, as we have noted many times on this blog.  The obvious remedy would be to supply the missing material, if that can be done without making damaging disclosures.

The memo alleges that the FBI sought a FISA warrant against an advisor to the Trump campaign without informing the FISA court that a substantial portion of the information submitted for probable cause was paid for by the Clinton campaign.  What would "the rest of the story" be that could make this not serious misconduct?  That other information provided made such a compelling case that this information was immaterial?  That seems unlikely. 

Strassel notes, "Ignore any arguments that the dossier was not a 'basis' for the warrant or only used 'in part.' If the FBI had to use it in its application, it means it didn't have enough other evidence to justify surveillance."  That doesn't quite follow.  It's not unusual to pile on everything you have even if you think less should be enough.  After all, the court might not agree with your probable cause assessment.  But even if the other evidence was abundant, it is still misleading to provide the Clinton-campaign-funded information without disclosing that it was so funded.  We will wait and see what the FBI has to say.

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