By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama’s Congressional delegation reacted mostly positive towards the decision to release a classified memo dealing with the investigation of a former Trump campaign staffer to the public.
Friday, President Donald Trump approved the request of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to declassify a classified memo provided to the Committee regarding requests by the FBI and the Department of Justice to place surveillance on former members of the Trump presidential campaign. Republicans embraced the conclusions of the Nunes memo; while Democrats denounced it as drawing the wrong conclusions and worried that it jeopardized the sources and methods used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and never should have been made public.
The memo was written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Congressman Devin Nunes, R-California. Nunes outlines the potentially illegal use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on President Trump’s campaign.
“I am glad the memo has been made public for the American people to read and evaluate for themselves. The memo leads to many serious and important questions, and I am intent on continuing to push for answers,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne.
“I strongly support President Trump’s decision to make the FISA memo available to the public,” Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said. “Now the American people will be able to see this information and come to their own conclusions.”
“I am very pleased that the FISA memo from the House Intelligence Committee has been released to the public, as this is something I think most Americans supported,” said Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville. “I read the memo two weeks ago, and felt the information was extremely important and should be seen by the American people.”
“The Nunes Memo clearly outlines how the Obama Administration politicized and weaponized the FBI and DOJ to the point that agency employees felt comfortable in unethically, and perhaps illegally, deceiving FISA court judges by using Democrat funded opposition research as the basis to spy on American citizens. In particular, these government officials, in order to advance their spying efforts, knowingly concealed from the FISA court, on at least four different occasions, that the Clinton campaign paid for the Steele dossier on which the spying warrants were based. The abuse of legal process by partisan FBI and DOJ personnel is astonishing given the trust the American people have historically bestowed on both agencies,” Congressman Mo Brooks said.
The FBI put out a statement Wednesday night calling for the Nunes memo not to be released.
“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the FBI stated.
“The public should be able to have confidence that our institutions, including the FBI, are not being politicized in favor of one candidate over another,” Aderholt said. “That’s why we need transparency to show what the true facts are. This is not the way the system should work. It was interesting to see over the past several days so many of the Democrats that went out of their way to discredit this report, before it was even released. I hope this information can help people understand this entire situation.”
“After reading the memo two weeks ago, I immediately advocated for its release,” said Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover. “When public officials abuse their authority, it should not be covered up, and there should be consequences. Those who have abused their authority in this instance should not only be terminated, but subject to criminal prosecution. In fact, criminal prosecution might be the only means available for ultimate accountability and restoring the public trust in our justice department and our elections.”
Democrats on the committee have prepared their own memo that disputes many of Chairman Nunes’ conclusions. The Republican majority on the committee voted not to release that document.
“The selective publication of highly classified material to undermine our own national security agencies is not a political strategy, it is sabotage,” said Congressman Terri A. Sewell, D-Selma, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.
“In the interest of transparency, I believe the Democrat rebuttal memo should similarly be released,” Congressman Brooks said. “I call on my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee to release it so the American people can view its contents and gain a fuller understanding of the overall picture—that being, how and why federal agencies were spying on American citizens for partisan advantage.”
“This memo exposes a serious abuse of power, which cannot be tolerated in any administration,” Palmer said. “There is clear evidence that a political manifesto was used in order to justify surveillance of an American citizen. Instead of the narrative we’ve heard from the news media about Russian interference and influence in the election, the memo provides a clear indication that key individuals in our own Department of Justice may have actively engaged in criminal activities designed to undermine the election process. Politics must not influence the actions of our national security community, nor should unscrupulous individuals in high ranking national security and law enforcements positions be able to influence the outcome of any election,” he said.
“I have received quite a few inquiries about the House Intelligence Committee memo that was released today, so I wanted to offer an update,” Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said. “While I do not serve on the House Intelligence Committee and did not personally have a vote to release the memo to the public, I respect the process that was followed in accordance with House and Committee rules.”
“I will continue to monitor the Committee’s investigative work on this issue. In the meantime, I encourage all who are interested to read the memo and evaluate it for themselves,” Roby stated.