The FBI Goes Full Nixon with FISA Report
Remember the "limited hangout" from Watergate days, that attempt to reveal as little as possible during the crisis in the hopes the public might be satisfied, start to get bored. and go away? In case it's all gone down the memory hole or you're a millennial whose education has been a bit attenuated, here's the provenance:
PRESIDENT [NIXON]: You think, you think we want to, want to go this route now? And the — let it hang out, so to speak?
DEAN: Well, it's, it isn't really that —
HALDEMAN: It's a limited hangout.
DEAN: It's a limited hangout.
EHRLICHMAN: It's a modified limited hangout.
PRESIDENT: Well, it's only the questions of the thing hanging out publicly or privately.
Now, forced by a long-standing FOIA, the FBI has released, on a Saturday of course (we're lucky it wasn't Christmas day), 400 plus pages of FISA court material used to justify the surveillance of Carter Page... only three hundred plus pages were redacted, blacked out and completely unreadable.
Would you call that a limited hangout, a moderate limited hangout, or an ultra limited hangout? I'll go with the latter.
Unlike Nixon's, the conversations inside the Hoover Building leading to this are unlikely to have been taped. And it's next to certain no one's stupid enough (let's hope) to be texting about such things anymore. So we'll have to rely on our imaginations for the dialogue.
DIRECTOR 1: You're still opening too many doors. We need 49-212 blacked out too and 325 through to the end.
AGENT 1: It's already a sea of black ink. How do we--
DIRECTOR 2: The FBI does not reveal sources and methods. You know that.
AGENT 1: And what about the next IG report? Suppose--
DIRECTOR 2: Don't worry about the IG. He'll do his part. He always does in the end.. for the good of the country.
AGENT 1: I suppose that's true... And this is an ongoing investigation, right? We can't disclose things about that.
DIRECTOR 2: Now you're sounding like a patriot... You know... you might be right for that Maui assignment after all.
Well, it's not that bald, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were close. Someone had to make the decisions on all those redactions, even if, by now, the public is sick of them and of the whole thing. (Recall the recent Gallup poll with less than one percent of the electorate concerned with Russia.)
I wonder if the people in FBI leadership -- trapped in their own feedback loop -- really understand what damage they have done to the organization's reputation in the country at large. It's close to irreversible. Or perhaps they don't care, as long as they get their man -- Trump, obviously, not Carter Page, the small fry of small fries. (The news that Mueller was immunizing Tony Podesta to rat on Manafort just about put the capper on the whole thing.)
Watching CNN's Jake Tapper's near-McCarthyite, hectoring interview with Carter Page on Sunday, I sensed a growing frustration on the left. Tapper didn't lay a glove on Page, who obviously was confident enough to go on CNN, making it yet more likely that he has nothing to hide.
Meanwhile, despite the FBI's continued attempts at limited hangouts, GOP members of the House Intel Committee some weeks ago asked the president to declassify key parts of the Carter Page FISA application. This recent publication of masses of India ink seems to make that all the more urgent.
For some reason, the Dems on the committee and elsewhere have little interest in this. Could it be they didn't get the message from Obama on transparency? As some will recall, his was the most transparent administration in history -- or so he said.
It seems the Dems and the FBI are trying to run out the clock on all this redacted information that is supposedly so volatile that we poor citizens are unable to handle it. They will keep running out this clock until the November election. Only Trump at this point can really stop them. Do it, Donald.
A LITTLE MORE: After this depressing affair is over, it's time to look once again at the thin line between journalism and propaganda. One of the key players in this frameup is Glenn Simpson of FusionGPS, formerly a reporter of the Wall Street Journal. If even that paper, the only one I read, is producing people like this, we should take a look at what's really going on. The whole RussiaGate madness makes a case that journalism and propaganda are just two names for the same thing.
Roger L. Simon - co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media - recently discussed his work on BookTV.