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Friday, January 19, 2018
FISA ABUSE MEMO, #ReleaseTheMemo Campaign Send Congress, Wikileaks and Twitter Into a TAILSPIN
Former FBI Director James Comey, FBI special agent Peter Strzok and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are shown here, left to right. On Jan. 18, 2018, the House House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release a FISA abuse memo Dan Boylan
Interest in a classified House Intelligence Committee memo, which reportedly outlines how the anti-Trump dossier was used by the FBI to justify surveillance against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has caused an online frenzy.
Late Thursday, WikiLeaks jumped into the proceedings, offering a reward of up to $1 million to anyone who could send them a copy.
Meanwhile, reports emerged that the Twitter hashtag calling for the memo’s public release — #ReleaseTheMemo — was receiving a major online push by Russian-linked Twitter accounts.
According to the Hamilton 68 Dashboard, an independent tracker of Russian online influence campaigns, #ReleaseTheMemo received a massive boost over the past 48 hours, from more than 500 Twitter accounts suspected to have connections to Kremlin online propaganda efforts, the Washington Examiner reported. Some accounts, but noted, clearly behaved like automated “bots” deigned to amplifying American conspiracy theories and disinformation.
On Thursday, the House House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release the FISA abuse memo. According to sources close to the committee, it addresses text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBIlawyer Lisa Page which prove the dossier was used to justify FISA warrants.
Previously the FBI’s deputy head of counterintelligence, Mr. Strzok played a primary role in investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. He also worked on the FBI’s probe into possible coordination between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election until leaving the investigation in July.
During the Clinton investigation, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Paige, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, had a romantic relationship, according to multiple reports. Defenders of Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok told the Washington Post that there was no misconduct between the two.
On Thursday, when Democrats voted against making the memo available for all House members, the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, dismissed it as a “profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation.”
“Rife with factual inaccuracies and referencing highly classified materials that most of Republican Intelligence Committee members were forced to acknowledge they had never read, this is meant only to give Republican House members a distorted view of the FBI,” Mr. Schiff said a statement widely quoted by media. “This may help carry White House water, but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals.”
Republicans, however, pounced on the document as a long-awaited vindication of their argument that Mr. Trump was smeared politically by the Washington Establishment after his election, which grossly exaggerated his connection to Russia.
“I viewed the classified report from House Intel relating to the FBI, FISA abuses, the infamous Russian dossier, and so-called ‘Russian collusion.’ What I saw is absolutely shocking,” tweeted conservative Freedom Caucus leader, Rep. Mark Meadows, who also called for its release.
“It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan was quoted as saying.
“You think about, ‘is this happening in America or is this the KGB?’ That’s how alarming it is,” Rep. Scott Perry was quoted as saying.
Reports claimed that the memo could be released next week provided the White House does not object.