Adam Schiff, Meet Adam Schiff
The House Democrat — among President Donald Trump's chief tormentors — was against FISA abuse before he was for it
In 2018, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is about to publish a memo justifying the questionable surveillance of associates of President Donald Trump and the use of the so-called dossier to get related spy warrants.
But in 2013, Schiff went on the state-sponsored Russia Today television outlet — yes, RT! — and called for more transparency in the issuance of such surveillance warrants. Schiff suggested the use of such warrants was out of hand.
Adam Schiff, meet Adam Schiff.
The ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has been trying for months to tie Trump to all sorts of foul Russian plots. Schiff blames Russian hackers for Trump’s victory, and it’s become Schiff’s mission to build an impeachment case against Trump.
Schiff is constantly talking to reporters at The New York Times and other liberal dailies. He also goes in front of cameras, from HBO’s Bill Maher show to Showtime’s “The Circus,” and every liberal mainstream media Sunday news morning show.
Schiff said in March 2017 there is “more than circumstantial evidence” that Trump colluded with Russia, but he has never released the information on which he based his claim.
Schiff’s refusal to produce his proof is small potatoes compared to the political gymnastics he has performed over the years while taking new positions on spying, surveillance warrants, and a host of other issues.
Adam Schiff, meet Adam Schiff, indeed.
FISA transparency. When Schiff appeared in 2013 on the pro-Putin RT to urge more transparency in federal surveillance methods, the issue at hand was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This is the law that governs how U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies keep an eye on foreign spies and related actors operating in America.
Schiff said he supported reforms that would rein in the use of FISA warrants sought in FISA’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“I think this can be accomplished while also maintaining sources and methods, and not compromising some of the very real national security concerns at stake,” said Schiff.
But in 2018, Schiff argued against releasing the "Nunes memo," written by the Republican majority staff of the House intelligence panel chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and describing classified information on how senior executives of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI manipulated the FISA court into authorizing surveillance warrants against private U.S. citizens supporting Trump.
The basis of the warrants was a host of unverified allegations compiled in a dossier by Christopher Steele, a former British spy and FBI resource. He was working for the Fusion GPS opposition research firm and was paid by the Democratic National Committee and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign committee.
Schiff argued the memo release would compromise methods and sources, but when it became public no methods or sources were exposed. What was exposed were the dubious actions of law enforcement executives trying to use their government positions and powers to defeat Trump.
Redactions. On Tuesday, Schiff warned the White House against making redactions in a competing memo prepared by the intelligence panel's Democratic staff, which will be released, just as the Nunes memo was, in a long-established process that includes review by the White House.
That contrasts oddly with how Schiff characterized the release of the Nunes memo, which went through the same process. That release "increases the risk of a constitutional crisis" and threatens FBI methods and sources.
It's an odd claim, as the Nunes memo is four pages. The soon-to-be-released Democratic memo is reportedly about 12 pages. And it's packed with more sensitive information than the GOP memo, according to a Republican source close to the intelligence panel who requested anonymity.
The Schiff memo "has all kinds of source-and-method problems," the source told LifeZette on Tuesday. "It releases far more sensitive and classified information than the GOP memo."
Subpoenas. Schiff is eager to issue committee subpoenas against Trump associates and was eager to interrogate Donald Trump Jr. last year.
But Schiff is less eager to see any information that may go against the Democrats' Trump-Russia narrative released.
A source close to the intelligence committee told LifeZette that Schiff fought subpoenas issued against the three Fusion GPS executives, the men who employed Steele; Schiff objected to a subpoena seeking Fusion GPS bank records; and he objected to subpoenas made to DOJ and FBI seeking information on the dossier.