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WSJ Reporter: Mostly Unredacted Grassley Memo Bigger Bombshell Than Nunes Memo

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Published on: February 9, 2018

Wall Street Journal reporter Kimberley Strassel sent a flurry of tweets on Wednesday pointing out why the mostly unredacted memo put out by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) may just be a bigger bombshell than the memo that was authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and released last week.

During her Twitter storm, Strassel made five points.

1) Why isn’t the (mostly) unredacted Grassley memo front page news? Here’s why: Because it confirms the Nunes memo and blows up the Schiff talking points (which the media ran with).

2)It is confirmation that the FBI’s FISA application relied on the dossier and a news article, and worse, on the credibility of a source in the employ of the Clinton campaign.

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3) It is proof that the FBI did not tell the Court the extraordinarily partisan provenance of the dossier.

4) It provides evidence that the FBI presented the FISA Court with materially false evidence, in the claim that Steele had not talked to the press. And then shows that even after Steele admitted under oath that he had, the FBI did not tell the FISA Court in its renewal.

5) It provides evidence that Steele was getting information from the Clinton team itself! Via the State Department! So now, not only do we have a dossier based on unnamed shady Russians, but on Sidney Blumenthal. How much of this was engineered by the Clinton campaign from start?

Well, I would imagine it was all thought up by the Clinton campaign.  In fact, according to the Grassley/Graham criminal referral letter to the Justice Department, “The application failed to disclose that the identities of Mr. Simpson’s ultimate clients were the Clinton campaign and the DNC [Democratic National Committee].”

However, to the media question at hand, Guy Benson at Townhall has a possibility of three answers.

  • (1) The GOP hyped the Nunes memo, which quickly became the center of this whole firestorm — replete with counter-memos, FBI objections, etc.  The press followed the spotlight.
  • (2) As we’ve been saying, there are so many complex pieces of this larger puzzle, following the plot is difficult.  It’s not just news consumers wondering, “which memo is this now?” — it’s many of the people trying to cover this drama, too.  The document in question here is a second, less redacted, version of a Senate memo that few people have even heard of. 
  • (3) The Senate memo, produced by non-bomb-throwers Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, is substantially more disruptive to the Democrats’ narrative than the Nunes document.  And the press generally prefers Democratic narratives to Republican ones because most journalists are liberals.

I’d say it’s because of number three.  After all, the press have been complicit in the lies of Hillary Clinton and the obvious attacks on Donald Trump.

However, to the bombshell of the Grassley memo, AllahPundit writes:

The key question in the Nunes memo was how much, exactly, did the FBI rely on the Steele dossier in its FISA application to surveil Carter Page. Did they treat the dossier as a lead, something that they needed to investigate themselves, or did they treat it as evidence, something to be laid in front of the Court as credible information in and of itself that probable cause existed to believe Page was a foreign agent? There’s nothing wrong with the cops following a lead to build their own case, even if the source it comes from has a bias. But gaining a warrant based largely on that source’s work product? Surely the Fourth Amendment demands more than that.

…“The bulk of the application” against Page was dossier material…“The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page.” In other words, they seem to have treated the dossier as evidence, not as a lead. That’s big news.

Perhaps the really big deal here is that the FBI, apparently, did not do enough research into the dossier to provide for gaining a FISA warrant, but the FISA judge, apparently, didn’t care enough to get more information.

Again from AllahPundit:

So they did tell the FISA Court that the material was paid for, and of course the Court was free to demand more information about that if it thought it was relevant. Apparently the judge didn’t. Which makes me wonder if Julian Sanchez is right, that the Grassley/Graham document is more an indictment of the low bar set by the FISA Court in granting surveillance than it is an indictment of FBI misconduct. The Nunes memo tries to make the case that the FBI behaved improperly with respect to the original FISA application by relying on a non-credible source in Steele, but they apparently didn’t know at the time that Steele wasn’t being straight with them about not talking to the press. They *did* know later and failed to tell the court, something that smells much more like misconduct than being initially duped by Steele was. It’s the Court’s fault for not demanding something thicker than the dossier as grounds for the original warrant against Page, I’d say, more so than it’s the FBI’s.

Here’s the real issue:  Was there actually enough for the FBI to go to the FISA court to obtain a warrant in the first place?  Second, was the information provided to the FISA court actually enough to issue surveillance?

Looking back on things, if those of us reading the material now can easily come to the conclusion that there wasn’t, then we must ask what was the motivation of both the FBI and the FISA court in what they did.

I think most of us already know that motivation:  President Hillary Clinton.

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