WASHINGTON – Some Minnesota Republicans welcomed the House Intelligence Committee’s release of a classified memo that accuses the FBI of partisan abuse of its surveillance powers.
The declassified memo released Friday by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes questions the legitimacy of the FBI and Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign — particularly its use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis, who voted against Congress’s recent reauthorization of FISA, called it the right move.
“I’ve repeatedly stated my concerns over unwarranted FISA wiretaps (one reason why I voted against reauthorization),” Lewis said in a statement. “After reviewing the classified Intel memo regarding possible abuses, I am more troubled than ever. Transparency demands that we release the memo.”
Rep. Tom Emmer echoed the transparency theme.
“In the spirit of transparency, I fully support the release of the memo to the American people,” he said in a statement. “I also fully support our nation’s law enforcement, including the principal federal law enforcement agency the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose work is imperative for the safety and security of our nation.”
Rep. Erik Paulsen did not venture an opinion on the memo’s contents or its release.
“The memo has been released and the public can see it for themselves,” he said in a statement.
Minnesota’s two Democratic senators railed against the memo’s release.
“The Nunes memo was released against the better judgment and expert counsel of our law enforcement and national security officials,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement. “The release of classified materials and misleading information undermines our national security and intelligence gathering capabilities. As a former prosecutor, I am also extremely concerned that the decision to release the memo continues to muddle the much-needed separation between politics and any law enforcement investigation.”
Sen. Tina Smith called for measures to protect the ongoing Russia investigation “from further political interference.”
“This memo — which was written by Republicans and then released by Republicans despite ‘grave concerns’ from the President’s own FBI about the memo’s omissions and factual inaccuracies — is a partisan effort by the President’s allies to undermine and discredit an investigation of the President himself,” Smith said in a statement. “[W]e should reaffirm our faith in the thousands of men and women in the FBI who help protect us each and every day.”