Speed Reads

life after the memo

The New York Times argues for the release of documents related to the wiretapping of Carter Page

On Monday, The New York Times argued that because President Trump declassified the so-called Nunes memo last week, there is no longer justification for the confidentiality of documents related to the wiretapping of his former campaign associate, Carter Page. The Times has apparently notified the Justice Department about its decision to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to unseal the documents.

The Nunes memo, compiled for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), was declassified last Friday. The memo asserts that the FBI improperly surveilled Page, beginning in October 2016. The warrant for Page was approved for a 90-day extension three subsequent times.

As the Times argues:

…President Trump lowered the shield of secrecy surrounding such materials on Friday by declassifying the Republican memo about Mr. Page, after finding that the public interest in disclosing its contents outweighed any need to protect the information. Because Mr. Trump did so, the Times argues, there is no longer a justification "for the Page warrant orders and application materials to be withheld in their entirety," and "disclosure would serve the public interest." [The New York Times]

It's quite the long shot. Since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — which regulates domestic electronic spying — was enacted in 1978, no wiretap application documents have ever been declassified.