February 10, 2018

CNN’s Conflicted Evan Perez: Nunes Memo ‘Was a Dud,’ But Dangerous

On Friday, CNN’s Evan Perez insulted Congress as people who “don’t have any idea how the law works” relating to surveillance, claiming that “grave harm … was done by the release of the Republican (Nunes) memo even though it was a dud.” How interesting, given that Perez knows, because he reported it in 2013, that Obama administration committed abuses serious enough to warrant an October 2011 FISA Court rebuke. Additionally, the now-FBI-defending Perez should know that in October 2016, the Obama administration admitted that it never changed its ways.

On Friday’s Anderson Cooper 360, Perez played Praetorian guard:

A transcript follows this post.

Perez’s key contentions:

  • “… this entire fight … is exposing the fact that our legislators … really have no idea how the law works.”
  • “… the truth is that there was grave harm that was done by the release of the Republican memo even though it was a dud, there was information that really never gets released. …”

The Nunes memo was such a “dud” that, as Andy McCarthy at National Review observed early Saturday:

The Grassley-Graham memo corroborates the claims in the Nunes memo: The Obama Justice Department and FBI used anonymously sourced, Clinton-campaign generated innuendo to convince the FISA court to issue surveillance warrants against Carter Page, and in doing so, they concealed the Clinton campaign’s role.

In 2013 at CNN.com, Perez reported:

The Obama administration on Wednesday declassified opinions from a secret court that oversees government surveillance showing the National Security Agency was broadly collecting domestic Internet communications of Americans and misrepresenting the scope of that effort to the court.

“Misrepresenting to the court” is exactly what the Nunes and Senate memos say the FBI did with the Steele dossier. The congressmen Perez considers ignoramuses understand that perfectly.

In May 2017, in a development Perez should recall, Circa.com reported the following October 2016 Obama administration admission:

(the Obama administration) routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president …

The normally supportive (FISA) court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

The administration’s willingness to spy on Americans without genuine basis for another five years after its 2011 rebuke surely extended to other domestic intelligence agencies. Yet now Perez is defending the FBI unwarranted penchant for secrecy and non-transparency.

In October, the Daily Caller reported Perez’s “personal closeness” with “operatives” at Fusion, the shadowy entity which orchestrated the Christopher Steele dossier.

Perez’s closeness to key players at Fusion GPS, which CNN has apparently never disclosed, is a likely factor in his current disinterest in transparency and contrived paranoia. CNN is clearly not interested in being seen as engaged in objective, unbiased journalism; otherwise, Perez would not be on this story.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

Video transcript (bolds are mine):

ANDERSON COOPER: Evan, what’s the latest you’re hearing about how the decision’s being received, and what’s next?

EVAN PEREZ: Look, I think, Anderson, part of the problem with this entire fight is that it is exposing the fact that for our legislators, members of Congress who are responsible for writing the law governing FISA and how the FBI uses the law, it’s shown that they really don’t understand how the FBI does this.

So these are the guys that just recently reauthorized the section of the FISA law, 702, and it’s clear from their complaints about how the FBI handled the Carter Page surveillance that they really have no idea how the law works, the power that that FBI has.

And so that’s where a lot of the misunderstanding is coming.

And so, look, I do think that Josh (Campbell) is right, and that inside the FBI, they didn’t want either memo released. And they certainly don’t want a ten-page memo if they didn’t want a three-page version being released.

So I think this is a genuine concern from Ron Rosenstein, from Chris Wray. I think we should not ignore them.

And even though there is a lot of politics flying around, the truth is that there was grave harm that was done by the release of the Republican memo even though it was a dud, there was information that really never gets released. And it was — We identified a source for the FBI. We identified that someone was a target. I mean, this is stuff that is not supposed to get released and it was.

So I get the politics, but more harm would have probably have been done according to the FBI if this ten-page version (the Democrats’ memo) were released.

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