The House has voted to release the infamous four page memo that many think outlines the broad contours of how the FBI and Department of Justice abused their powers to aid Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Some responsible people, who have read it, have indicated it is a very big deal. Other responsible people, who have read it, are working hard to prevent its release, presumably because it is a very big deal. Democrats have refused to read it, so they can go to their favorites media outlet and lie about its contents.
That’s one of the back stories to this whole affair. If you are permitted to read a top secret document, you are not permitted to say anything about it. In some cases, you are not even permitted to say it exists. On the other hand, if you get wind of some top secret document squirreled away in the security apparatus, you are allowed to say anything you like about what’s in it. That’s why guys like Adam Schiff refuse to read this stuff. That way, they are free to make up whatever whoppers they think are best, on media chat shows.
The funny thing about this is the memo probably has no new information. Lots of people have been following the news and piecing together the broad outlines of what happened during the Obama years. Conservative Tree House has been doing long essays connecting the dots for a while now. Doug Ross has been maintaining a timeline of events using media stories, most of which were likely sourced to people involved. For example, it is clear that Devlin Barrett has been getting his scoops from Strzok and Page.
Public information suggests senior people in the FBI decided to help the cause by providing the White House, through the Department of Justice, with surveillance information on Americans connected to the Republican candidates. The DOJ would then ask for the names of these people, what is known as unmasking, knowing that this would get out to the broad circle of political people with access to the security briefings. They would in turn leak this stuff to their favorite media people or to the Clinton campaign.
This has all the finger prints of a Clinton caper. Their game has always been to relax all of the rules, so it was hard to spot their malfeasance. At State, Hillary was obviously selling influence and possibly state secrets. In order to avoid anyone noticing it, her correspondence and all of the secret material her people accessed was left unguarded in a dozen places. That way, if counter-intelligence people noticed something, they had a million rabbit holes to inspect, looking for the source. It’s called hiding in plain sight.
It appears to have been the game played by Team Obama. Crooked FBI men would find some excuse to listen to foreigners, who regularly talked to American officials. This would be included in the daily briefings sent to the White House. Susan Rice would ask for the names of the US citizen to “get a better understanding of the material.” This is the sort of shenanigans that is hard to find, as long as it never gets out of hand. A leak here or there to the media to embarrass someone is not going to draw too much attention.
The guess is that things did get out of hand. Like a movie crime thriller, the conspirators found themselves in the third act of the five act structure. Events overtook them and they made some very bad choices. We are now into the fourth act where things have turned bad for many of the actors. Odds are, some well intended people tried to shield the FBI from embarrassment and lied or covered up things from investigators. Others succumbed to hubris and truly thought they could bring down the President on behalf of their cause.
It’s all speculation at this point, but what is not speculation is the two serious threats this poses to the constitutional order. The first and most serious is we have a Praetorian Guard problem in Washington. By allowing the security agencies to spy on Americans, on behalf of political factions, they are being setup as king makers. Imagine if they were able to frame up one of Trump’s kids, or even Trump, with phony intelligence. From that point forward, every politician would have to kiss the ring of the intelligence community.
Similarly, the massive holes in the intelligence system open pathways for foreign governments to subvert the nation and subvert the political order. It has been forgotten, but there is some possibility that MI6 had some involvement in this caper. Fake intelligence was fed to British intelligence, who then laundered it and sent it back to US intel agencies for use in FISA warrants. That could explain why Trump has gone out of his way to give Theresa May the cold shoulder, while treating Macron like a son.
The question at this stage is whether the political class can take the necessary steps to fix these problems. The Democrats have descended into madness, incapable of carrying out their basic functions. This is due to Progressivism morphing into a mystical suicide cult. At the same time, Republicans are afraid of their own shadow. Digging into the corruption of the Obama administration means they could be accused of racism by the Left. They would rather see the nation burn to a crisp than suffer that indignity.
There is another thing that is probably spooking the political class. How long has this been going on? One of the great unsolved riddles of the Obama years was the sudden, overnight transformation of Judge Roberts from opponent of the individual mandate to defender of it. There are serious people in Washington who worry about the consequences of revealing a wide ranging political scandal involving the nation’s top intelligence officials. Despite it all, there are still some patriots left in Washington.