January 25, 2018

Feinstein Blames Russia for Campaign to Release FISA Memo

The senator from California plays politics in attempting to prevent the public release of the FISA memo.

In a desperate attempt to prevent the public release of a classified FISA memo that purports to show the FBI abused the surveillance program for political aims, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sent a letter to the execs at Twitter and Facebook calling for them to investigate a supposed Russian social media effort pushing for the memo’s release. The letter states in part, “We are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process. This should be disconcerting to all Americans, but especially your companies as, once again, it appears the vast majority of their efforts are concentrated on your platforms. This latest example of Russian interference is in keeping with Moscow’s concerted, covert, and continued campaign to manipulate American public opinion and erode trust in our law enforcement and intelligence institutions.”

In other words, Feinstein has just declared that anyone who believes the FISA memo — a memo several Republican members of Congress describe as “alarming” and “disturbing” — should be released is essentially a puppet of Vladimir Putin, and that is quite simply asinine.

First off, the Russians didn’t start the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign; it was Republicans who first called for the release of this memo, written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. Secondly, was it not Feinstein who mere weeks ago unilaterally released the entire closed-door testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony regarding the dubious Trump dossier? At the time, Feinstein argued that the American public had a right to know: “The American people deserve the opportunity to see what [Glenn Simpson] said and judge for themselves.” She further explained her rationale, asserting, “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.” But now she’s singing a different tune.

Using Feinstein’s logic, there currently is a lot of “innuendo” and probably “misinformation” flying around regarding exactly what the content of the FISA memo alleges. Why not release it to the public to “set the record straight”? Clearly, Feinstein is engaging in political gamesmanship. When releasing the information plays well for her agenda, she pulls the “American people have a right to know” card, but when the information could prove damaging to her agenda, then the narrative is one of needing to “protect” the American people and its institutions from the Russians.

A free society must have a government committed to transparency in order to hold to account those who have been entrusted by citizens with the power to lead. Hiding potential corruption from the American public will cause greater distrust of government institutions and agencies than revealing the truth, no matter how ugly it may be. Therefore we in our humble shop unequivocally call for the public release of the FISA memo.

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