Posted by Curt on 24 May, 2019 at 10:58 am. 2 comments already!


Transparency is un-American? Donald Trump’s executive order granting William Barr the authority to declassify evidence and documents related to the origins of Operation Crossfire Hurricanemight present opportunities for reasonable criticism. A lack of patriotism would not be among those issues, and yet that’s where House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff immediately went:

President Trump has granted Attorney General William P. Barr “full and complete authority” to declassify government secrets, issuing a memorandum late Thursday that orders U.S. intelligence agencies to cooperate promptly with Barr’s audit of the investigation into Russia’s election interference in 2016.

The president’s move gives Barr broad powers to unveil carefully guarded intelligence secrets about the Russia investigation, which the attorney general requested to allow him to quickly carry out his review, according to the memo. …

The move is likely to further anger Democrats who have said that Barr is using his position as the nation’s top law enforcement official to aggressively protect the president and attack his critics.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leads one of the ongoing congressional investigations of Trump, called the action “un-American.” Trump and Barr, Schiff said in a statement Thursday night, are conspiring to “weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies.” ‬

This accusation is a little rich coming from Schiff and other leading Democrats. They have just spent the last several weeks demanding the full publication of the unredacted report from Robert Mueller, which would not only illegally expose grand-jury testimony but also the same kind of intelligence that Barr will review for declassification. Democrats clearly wanted those classified and restricted materials disclosed for their own partisan political purposes. Were Schiff and his fellow Democrats also “un-American” all this time?

Besides, Schiff’s argument gets the entire issue reversed. Trump isn’t ordering intelligence agencies to spy on his political enemies; he’s asking Barr to review the material they’ve already collected to see if that’s what happened in 2016. Schiff is suffering a clear case of projection.

Even the Washington Post seems a little puzzled by the claim:

The president is the government’s highest authority over whether national secrets remain classified. His order gives Barr significant authority over agencies that typically hold their secrets close and don’t declassify them easily. While the memo states Barr should consult with the head of an agency before declassifying its secrets, it also demands that Barr get prompt responses and documents from the intelligence community.

The objections coming from Democrats since last night’s announcement ignores that line of authority. The president is the ultimate authority on classification, and can delegate that as he sees fit.

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