House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D, CA), in response to the Committee’s Republican members’ four-page memo—the Nunes Memo—regarding the FBI’s abuse of FISA court-approved surveillance of Americans, produced a ten-page Progressive-Democrat member response, which the committee voted unanimously to release to the House with an eye to getting the memo released to the public via the White House’s security vetting. The House approved the release and sent it to President Donald Trump, who had five days to disapprove the document, or it would be released.
Concerns that the Progressive-Democrat members had larded their memo with information that, if released, would jeopardize intelligence and FBI methods and sources in order to make political hay over their redactions have been justified.
The White House on Friday told Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to redraft their rebuttal to a controversial GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse during the 2016 campaign, saying sensitive details need to be stripped out before the document can be made public.
It isn’t simply a refusal to release the memo with its cynically included classified information, though, nor is the White House playing guessing games with the Progressive-Democrats about what would be releasable. In a letter advising the committee that the Progressive-Democrat memo could not be released in its current form, White House Counsel Don McGahn wrote,
However, given the public interest in transparency in these unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be available to give technical assistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the February 5th Memorandum [the Schiff Memo] to mitigate the risks identified by the Department. The President encourages the Committee to undertake these efforts.
Notice that. It’s not a refusal to release at all, as the committee’s Progressive-Democrat members had voted to do with the Nunes memo. It’s a refusal to release with the deliberately included classified material and a willingness to release with those data removed by the Progressive-Democrats in coordination with DoJ.
And the Progressive-Democrats are busy growing their political hay.