Matt Taibbi (aka MattyDickPics) and Kash Patel are whining about the Nunes Memo again.
As you’ll recall, in the first year of the Trump Administration, Patel wrote a misleading memo for Devin Nunes purporting that the entire Russian investigation stemmed from the Steele dossier. When the Carter Page IG Report and FISA applications were released, it became clear how Patel spun the facts. In this post I cataloged what both Nunes and Adam Schiff, in his counterpart to the Nunes memo, got wrong.
But it’s not the Nunes Memo itself that Taibbi and Patel are whining about. They’re complaining about the circumstances of its release five years ago.
Taibbi made it the subject of his latest Twitter Files propaganda thread and related Substack — the latter of which, astoundingly, says the public has to rely on the attributions of cloud companies, something Taibbi has always refused to do when discussing the GRU attribution of the 2016 hacks targeting Democratic targets. “It’s over, you nitwits. It’s time to stow the Mueller votive candles, cop to the coverage pileup created by years of errors, and start the reconciliation process,” Taibbi says, in appealing to precisely the kind of evidence he himself has refused to credit for more than six years. I dealt with both in this thread, but the important takeaway is that Taibbi doesn’t even manage to get facts that both the Daily Beast and I were able to cover in real time, including the fact that Republicans, too, were making unsupported claims based on the Dashboard’s reporting and Russian trolls were part of — just not the biggest part — of the campaign.
[A] knowledgeable source says that Twitter’s internal analysis has thus far found that authentic American accounts, and not Russian imposters or automated bots, are driving #ReleaseTheMemo. There are no preliminary indications that the Twitter activity either driving the hashtag or engaging with it is either predominantly Russian.
In short, according to this source, who would not speak to The Daily Beast for attribution, the retweets are coming from inside the country.
The source pointed to influential American users on the right, including Donald Trump Jr., with his 2.49 million followers, pushing the hashtag forward. It’s become a favorite of far-right Republican congressmen, including Steve King, who claimed the still-secret memo shows the FBI was behaving “worse than Watergate” in one viral tweet. Mark Meadows called it an “absolutely shocking” display of “FISA abuses,” referring to a counterintelligence process.
Rules of Engagement
There are reasons for skepticism about both the source’s claim and Alliance for Securing Democracy’s contrary findings.
Russian influence accounts did, in fact, send an outsize number of tweets about #ReleaseTheMemo—simply not enough for those accounts to reach the top of Twitter’s internal analysis.
Meanwhile, Kash Patel is outraged that Merrick Garland picked Robert Hur as Special Counsel to investigate Biden’s mishandling of classified documents because, when and after serving as a top aide to Rod Rosenstein in the early days of the Russian investigation, he opposed release of the memo.
This guy Hur needs to be the first one subpoenaed by the new Special Select Committee under Jim Jordan’s authority on the weaponization of government and do you want to know why? Because Hur — we have the receipts, Steve, and we’re going to release them later — was sending communications to the Justice Department and Rod Rosenstein’s crew arguing against the release of the Nunes memo. Saying that it would bastardize and destroy the United States national security apparatus. This guy is a swamp monster of the Tier One level, he’s a government gangster, he’s now in charge of the continued crime scene cover-up, which is why the first congressional subpoena that has to go out for the weaponization of government subcommittee is against Hur.
Remember, this committee was modified during the period when key insurrectionists were refusing to vote for Kevin McCarthy to include language authorizing the committee to investigate why the Executive Branch is permitted to conduct criminal investigations of US citizens.
the expansive role of article II authority vested in the executive branch to collect information on or otherwise investigate citizens of the United States, including ongoing criminal investigations;
It may be the intent to interfere in ongoing investigations into people like Scott Perry and Paul Gosar (who changed their votes on McCarthy later in the week, as these changes were being made) and Jordan (who will have great leeway to direct the direction of this committee). But Jordan may be surprised when he discovers that Merrick Garland will enforce the long-standing DOJ policies about providing Congress access to ongoing investigations that Jeff Sessions and Matt Whitaker and Bill Barr did not. Indeed, some precedents from the Russia investigation legally prohibit the sharing of this information with Congress.
But Kash’s complaint (back atcha with the rap gangsta alliteration, Kash!) is a bellybutton moment in which he attempts to villainize Hur’s past commitment to those long-standing DOJ (and intelligence community, including the NSA that conduct much FISA surveillance) policies. Consider the things the memo revealed, many of which had never before been released publicly.
- Details about the dates and approvals for four FISA orders
- Financial details involving private individuals, including US citizens
- Contents of the FISA memo (but not their true context)
- A reference to a Mike Isikoff article that appeared in the Carter Page applications; Kash was outraged when his own public article was included in the warrant affidavit targeting Trump
- Details from a Confidential Human Source file
- Misrepresentations about both Bruce Ohr and his spouse, the latter of whom was a private citizen whose work was shared with the FBI as part of the effort to vet the dossier
- Direct communications with the President-elect the likes of which Trump claimed were covered by Executive Privilege in the Mueller investigation
- False claims about the texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that are currently the subject of two Privacy Act lawsuits; even aside from the privacy implications, at the time it was virtually unprecedented for texts between FBI officials to be released, even in criminal discovery (and many of these released, including some misrepresented in the memo, pertained to work matters unrelated to the Russian investigation)
In other words, Kash Patel wants to investigate Hur’s comments, made either at the time he was the key overseer of the Mueller investigation or during a transition period as he awaited confirmation to be US Attorney, advocating that DOJ protect informants, FISA materials, details about private citizens, and work texts between FBI officials.
The very first thing Kash wants the Insurrection Protection Committee to investigate is why, five years ago, a senior DOJ official advocated following long-standing DOJ policy.