James Comey did not get the memo. Law enforcers are not above the law.
Friday’s release of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s memorandum on its oversight of the executive branch’s activities in obtaining electronic surveillance of Donald Trump campaign advisor Carter Page through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The memo raises questions regarding the legality of the actions of those paid to enforce the law.
“In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts,” the memo notes. “However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.”
That “relevant information” omitted includes the fact that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign gathered the “evidence” rationalizing the warrant on the Trump advisor; that Christopher Steele, the man paid by the DNC and Team Hillary to compile that information, described himself as “desperate” and “passionate” to thwart Donald Trump’s election to the presidency; and that the FBI itself “suspended and then terminated as an FBI source” the very man responsible for the information catalyzing the FISC warrant “for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations — an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.’’ In other words, the FBI wanted a court to find a man credible that it did not find credible.
In a micro sense, law enforcers used dishonesty to spy on an American citizen. In a macro sense, the whole notion of an executive branch of one party spying on the presidential campaign of the opposition party through the apparatus of the state strikes as a Banana Republic operation.
Watergate works as a precedent, but only for so far. Richard Nixon’s operatives did not involve the apparatus of the state to dig dirt. They did it themselves. In this case, the Obama administration used law enforcement as the burglars, which, of course, does not make it legal but instead makes it an even greater affront to law.
The allegations trouble in that they emit a who-will-guard-the-guardians vibe. The memo points out that former FBI director James Comey signed three Foreign Intelligence Service Act applications and Andrew McCabe signed one. Who believes that their former colleagues in the Justice Department, many of them complicit in their nefarious activities, now pursue criminal cases against them?
For the current administration, the memo compels it to root out any fifth-columnist leftovers and to instruct the Justice Department to prosecute the malefactors. The former seems with the administration’s control if the latter does not.
Watergate gave rise to the truism, “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.” Here, “It’s not the alleged crime, it’s the alleged criminal investigators” seems relevant.