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FBI raises ‘grave concerns’ about GOP intelligence memo, warns against its release

By Joseph Tanfani • Updated Jan 31, 2018 at 4:06 PM

WASHINGTON — The FBI, in an official statement, said Wednesday it has “grave concerns” about the accuracy of a classified memo prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.

The memo, which reportedly alleges that the FBI abused its surveillance authority in connection with a secret court warrant, should not be released, the bureau said in the statement, warning that the memo excludes essential information and is misleading.

“We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the statement said.

The statement deepened the divide between the FBI and the White House over the memo. President Donald Trump told a congressman after his State of the Union speech Tuesday night that he “100 percent” intended to make the memo public, and his chief of staff, John Kelly, said Wednesday morning in an interview with Fox News that he expected it would be “released here pretty quick.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray was allowed to read the memo over the weekend, according to two officials. The Republican majority on the Intelligence Committee voted along partisan lines on Monday to go ahead with the release, giving Trump five days to decide whether to withhold it.

The memo reportedly is critical of the process used by the Justice Department to obtain a secret surveillance warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court against Carter Page, who was working with the Trump campaign and meeting with Russians.

Democrats charge that the memo is being used as a weapon against federal law enforcement agencies investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including alleged collusion by the Trump camp.

The statement from the FBI warned against making the memo public:

“The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI. We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process,” the statement reads.

“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

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