The Biggest Nunes Memo Revelations Have Little To Do With Its Content

By Caitlin Johnstone,

I think it’s very fitting that the ever-tightening repetitive loops of America’s increasingly schizophrenic partisan warfare have finally hit peak shrillness and skyrocketed into a white noise singularity on Groundhog Day. Right about now I feel like we’re at the part of the movie where Bill Murray is driving over a cliff in a pickup truck with a large rodent behind the wheel.

If you only just started paying attention to US politics in 2017 what I’m about to tell you will blow your mind, so you might want to sit down for this: believe it or not, there was once a time when both of America’s mainstream political parties weren’t screeching every single day that there was news about to break any minute now which would obliterate the other party forever. No Russiagate, no Nunes memo, no Rachel Maddow red yarn graphs, no Sean Hannity “tick tock”, no nothing. People screaming that the end is nigh and it’s all about to come crashing down were relegated to street corners and the occasional Infowars appearance, not practicing mainstream political punditry for multimillion dollar salaries on MSNBC and Fox News.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that Americans are starting to look critically at the power dynamics in their country, but the partisan filters they’ve slapped over their eyes are causing mass confusion and delusion. Now everyone who questions the CIA is a Russian agent and the term “deep state” suddenly means “literally anyone who doesn’t like Donald Trump”. Your take on the contents of the Nunes memo will put you in one of two radically different political dimensions depending on which mainstream cult you’ve subscribed to, and it will cause you to completely miss the point of the entire ordeal.

The part of the memo that has everyone talking today reads as follows:

“Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.”

This refers to a surveillance warrant requested by the FBI’s then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking permission to spy on the communications of Carter Page, a member of the 2016 Trump campaign. The controversy revolves around the claim that this surveillance warrant would never have even been requested if not for the clearly biased, Clinton-funded, and error-riddled Christopher Steele dossier which is acknowledged even by its former MI6 author to be 10 to 30 percent inaccurate.

Combine that with the fact that this has never been made clear to the public, and baby you’ve got yourself a scandal. The FBI knowingly using extremely tainted evidence from one presidential campaign to get permission to spy on another would indeed be a very big deal.

There are some problems with the “BOOM! Bigger than Watergate!” exclamations that pro-Trump partisans have been parading around about this, however. The first is that the memo is only an internal communication between Republican congressmen; it’s not a sworn testimony or legal transcript or anything legally binding. It’s basically just some Republican ideas about what happened. The assertions made therein are reportedly being hotly contested by Democrats with knowledge of the situation, which is in turn being disputed by Republicans.

Another thing putting a damper on the GOP’s “KABOOM!” parade is the fact that the memo’s contents are not even entirely new; CNN reported way back in April of last year that sources had informed them that the Steele dossier had been used to get a FISA warrant on the Trump campaign. Additionally, even if every single allegation in the memo is true, the revelations are still arguably far less earth shattering than the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013 exposing the NSA’s sprawling domestic espionage network, so the expectation that these less significant new revelations would cause a radical transformation in US politics when the Snowden revelations did not seems highly unrealistic.

Nonetheless, there have been some extremely important revelations as a result of this memo; they just haven’t come from the contents of the memo itself. In the same way that cybersecurity analysts observe the metadata underlying hacked files rather than the contents of the files themselves, political analysts have been pointing out that a lot can be learned about the political establishment by looking at its response to the possibility of the memo’s release.

“Memo is clearly not a blockbuster. We can tell so by reading it. Which makes Dems’ frantic efforts to prevent anyone from reading it seem even more bizarre,” observed TYT’s Michael Tracey, later adding, “Veracity of memo’s claims aside, we were told that its release would undermine the rule of law. So, just checking: is the rule of law still in tact?”

“Now it is clear to all,” WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange tweeted. “The claims about how the ‘Nunes’ memo would destroy ‘national security’ were lies. Classification stickers are used by bureaucrats trying to obtain ‘political security’ for their cronies.”

“One effect of the memo — it’s an example of how extensively we overclassify information,” wrote National Review‘s David French. “I’m highly dubious that any information disclosed threatens national security in any way, shape, or form. I’d be willing to bet the Dem response is similarly harmless. Release it.”

Indeed, both the FBI and high-profile Democrats have been claiming that the memo’s unredacted release would pose a national security threat, with California Congressman (and virulent Russiagater) Eric Swalwell going so far to call it “brainwashing”. A CNN panelist wandered completely off the paddock and suggested that yesterday may have been America’s last day as a democracy. Why were they all flipping out so hysterically over a release of information that plainly poses no threat to the American people?

In addition to Assange’s assertion that government secrecy has far less to do with national security than political security (a claim he has made before which seems to be proving correct time and time again), there’s the jarring question posed by Republican Congressman Thomas Massie: “who made the decision to withhold evidence of FISA abuse until after Congress voted to renew FISA program?”

Whoa, Nelly. Hang on. What is he talking about?

It would be understandable if you were unaware of the debate over the reauthorization of FISA surveillance which resulted in unconditional bipartisan approval last month; the mainstream media barely touched it. In point of fact, though, the very surveillance practices alleged to have been abused in this hotly controversial memo are the same which was waved through by both the House and the Senate, and by the very same people promoting the memo in many cases.

The McCabe testimony was in December. FISA was renewed in January. Why is all this just coming out now? If the Republicans truly believed that McCabe said what the memo claims he said, why wasn’t the public informed before their elected representatives renewed the intelligence community’s dangerously intrusive surveillance approval? Was this information simply forgotten about until after those Orwellian powers had been secured?

Of course not. Don’t be an idiot.

This makes the kicking, screaming, wailing and gnashing of teeth by the political establishment make a lot more sense, doesn’t it? Now suddenly we’re looking at a he-said, she-said partisan battle over an issue which can only be resolved with greater and greater transparency of more and more government documents, and we can all see where that’s headed. In their rush to win a partisan battle and shield their president from the ongoing Russiagate conspiracy theory, the Republicans may have exposed too much of the establishment foundation upon which both parties are built.

The term “deep state” does not mean “Democrats and Never-Trumpers” as Republican pundits would have you believe, nor does the term refer to any kind of weird, unverifiable conspiracy theory. The deep state is in fact not a conspiracy theory at all, but simply a concept used in political analysis for discussing the undeniable fact that unelected power structures exist in America, and that they tend to form alliances and work together in some sense. There is no denying the fact that plutocrats, intelligence agencies, defense agencies and the mass media are both powerful and unelected, and there is no denying the fact that there are many convoluted and often conflicting alliances between them. All that can be debated is the manner and extent to which this is happening.

The deep state is America’s permanent government, the US power structures that Americans don’t elect. These power structures plainly have a vested interest in keeping America’s Orwellian surveillance structures in place, as evidenced by the intelligence community’s menacingly urgent demand for FISA renewal back in December. If there’s any thread to be pulled that really could make waves in the way Official Washington (hat tip to the late Robert Parry) operates, it is in the plot holes between the bipartisan scramble toward unconditional surveillance renewal and the highly partisan battle over exposing the abuse of those very powers.

If we’re going to see a gap in the bars of our cages, that’s a great place to keep our eyes trained, so keep watching. Watch what happens in a partisan war where both parties have a simultaneous interest in revealing as little of the game as possible and exposing the other party. Things could get very interesting.

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23 Responses to The Biggest Nunes Memo Revelations Have Little To Do With Its Content

  1. nomadd says:

    this is treason. i want to see heads roll and people going to jail.

    • O appointed Comey. Comey dumped on Hillary two weeks out from the election. All the top FBI guys are Republicans includeing Mueller. The FISA court judges are appointed by John Roberts, head Supreme. None of these people are latent hippies or Dem shills. The don and his crew are so recklessly and potentially dangerously out of the lane with their Russian touching that not even Republicans, with a sense of country over party, can let it slide.

      • nomadd says:

        russian touching. a good way of describing a nothing burger. danger? not a hairs difference between either side. the difference is the danger trump poses to the deep state.

      • nomadd says:

        “Comey dumped on Hillary two weeks out from the election.”
        comey was doing his job which he had failed to do initially in his original exoneration of hillary, what, a week before?

  2. jadan says:

    People are told that “our democracy” is threatened by disrespect for our institutions, such as the secret police, aka, the FBI, if classified information is revealed to the public. And people are told that our democracy is threatened by these same secret institutions, which comprise the ‘deep state”. There is no voice in the public forum that says we do not live in a democracy and we never have. No one says that our republic was actually born with a “deep state” included. The “electoral college” is a deep state institution, designed to prevent “mob rule” in conjunction with the original voting restrictions. In other words, our system was designed to prevent the popular election of political leaders and preserve the power of a minority of wealthy men, ie, the oligarchs, the land owning, slave owning elite that wrote the Constitution. These special people have the wisdom and the moral superiority to direct the course of the nation. The people are a filthy, drunken mob.

    And so, friends, the system evolved. The wishes of the people were consistently denied or pandered to in the most venal ways while the elite minority owned everything and pursued its own secret elite agenda. And what might that agenda be? Power. Control of all the wealth, control of the political process, suppression of popular sovereignty. And that’s where we are today with a member of that elite proclaiming himself to be a victim of the deep state of which he is a most blatant representative. We are nowhere in a mire of disinformation and terminal confusion.

    And what’s the way out? First, establish an electoral system that actually counts each vote cast and accurately determines the will of the majority. We do not have such a system today, which is why Trump was elected. The failure of our electoral process is never discussed because the public media is owned and operated by the “deep state”, a cabal of bickering oligarchs who manage to agree on some fundamentals, such as never give the suckers an even break, and the house always wins.

    Democracy is the way out. Let the popular vote be sovereign! This is what scares the “deep state” the most, just as it did in the days of yore when rich men dreamed of themselves as the “people” and created a government by and for themselves. Unrig the electoral system and give the people what they want! We know what they don’t want: the deep state.

    • Cha4 says:

      I truly agree that an electoral system overhaul is needed. Mob rule however is not. A simple majority vote would shift the power structure of our nation to one where 5 states alone would control the outcome of nation. That’s hardly a representative government for the people….by the people.

      • jadan says:

        Doesn’t matter where you live. You can be a black ex-con in LA or a white libertarian racist in Wyoming. What matters is that your vote counts the same because all persons are created equal, according to our enlightened Declaration, written by the oligarch Jefferson while he was high on pot. Apparently, you don’t like democracy. You don’t think all votes should be counted equally. You’d prefer an electoral college to level the playing field and save white libertarian racists from being overwhelmed by all the colored people in NY, CA, & etc. Well sir, don’t call yourself a small “d” democrat, because that takes some faith in humanity which you ain’t got.

      • John Francis says:

        I agree, we were supposed to a republic not a democracy. James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and other Founders rightly saw democracy as nothing more than mob rule. The objective of the Constitution was to protect our liberties from the oppressive tyranny of mob rule. The Constitution guarantees to the people the right of self-government, PROVIDING that representatives elected by popular vote shall enact and administer the laws.

    • Militiades says:

      “And what’s the way out? First, establish an electoral system that actually counts each vote cast and accurately determines the will of the majority.”

      Don’t be silly. The public is as dumb as rocks when it comes to politics. The same people would still run things under your scenario. The best one can reasonably hope for these days is that they don’t accidently blow things up.

      • jadan says:

        If the people can’t be trusted to vote their own interest, then you should support the oligarchy, which you seem to. If you stand above it all and judge the people to be dumb, then you must be a very stable genius yourself! There is no danger that the majority of people voting in an a free and accountable electoral system would vote to go to war, even a “bloody nose” type of thing. There would have been no invasion of Iraq because there would have been a serious investigation of 911, the causus belli.They would not vote to guarantee the profits of a predatory medical system. The majority of the people understand their self-interest and it does not lie with the fuck-your-buddy system we have that enriches a few at the expense of the many. The majority of people think your “politics”, which is the subject of this useless article, is just steaming piles of bullshit. There is nothing about it that is difficult to understand. That you think it is above the capability of the common understanding says a lot about the short comings of your own exalted intelligence.

        • Seymor Heine says:


          Democracy is a great system. For small groups. But it doesn’t scale up worth a damn. The flaw in that system is that every voter has a responsibility to be fully informed, but as the system becomes larger, that becomes impossible.

          The working man simply doesn’t have enough hours in the day to do all that he needs to do to live his life *and* still be able to keep up with all the information he needs to know to be a responsible voter.

          And that’s assuming he even wants to spend hours every day keeping informed. Most don’t.

          It also assumes his sources of information are accurate. And what are his sources? The corporate media, in most cases. Can anyone who only knows what one hour of TV news tells them possibly be a full informed responsible voter?

          No. Not. Possible.

          So, a republic. Elected representatives to work full time staying informed.

          The problem there, is that the journalists are required to keep the people informed to keep the elected representatives honest.

          That part of the system of checks and balances has been captured, corrupted and broken.

          Even if you could make a pure democracy work on a large scale (you can’t), it wouldn’t be any better, because the mass media / corporate news would still be a load of horseshit.

          • jadan says:

            Elimination of the Electoral College and direct popular election of the president as with House & Senate is the democracy I’m talking about. Voting apparatus should be transparent and accountable and subject to accurate recount. You sound satisfied with our oligarchy and it’s rigged elections, so just keep preaching what shitheads the people are and things will surely get better..

          • Seymor Heine says:

            You are wrong. But you don’t know that, because you have failed to do your homework.

            Originally, the senators were not elected by the people. The representatives were, but the senators were chosen by the state legislatures. It was the 17th amendment which changed that.

            Before the 17th amendment, the people were to police their representatives, and the state legislatures were to police the senators. Naturally, the state legislatures were diligent about that, but the people weren’t nearly so observant. Senators couldn’t get away with nearly as much as representatives.

            But of course, politicians don’t like to closely watched, so the senators wanted the same freedom from intense scrutiny that representatives had.

            It was sold to the voters as, “power to the people”, and they bought it.

            Ever since, senators have enjoyed the same freedom from close oversight as representatives.

            Another example of how the system of checks and balaces has been subverted.

            And, election of the president is largely irrelevant. The plutocrats who control the oligarchy also control the media. No one gets elected president without media coverage, and that is tightly controlled.

            Trump is just as much a puppet of the plutocrats as Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc.

  3. You make an excellent point which goes to the heart of the matter, how much of the real game will the morons reveal in their blood lust to annihilate each other. The LSM will remain silent and steer the discussion away if it should ever be raised. Not counting of PBS to even hint at it.

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  4. nomadd says:

    Double bacon cheese felony burger. Hold the onion.

    • Erin says:

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  5. nomadd says:

    this is treason. i want to see heads roll and people going to jail. im looking at you obama.

    “New text messages between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have now been made public, and, as The Duran’s Alex Christoforou notes, the big reveal is that then-POTUS Barack Obama appears to be in the loop, on
    the whole ‘destroy Trump’ insurance plan hatched by upper management at
    the FBI.
    The messages include an exchange about preparing talking
    points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, who
    wanted “to know everything we’re doing.””

  6. nomadd says:

    Im looking at you hillary

    ““Hillary proceeded to pick up a full glass of water and throw it at the face of the assistant, and the screaming started.

    She was in a full meltdown and no one on her staff dared speak
    with her — she went kind of manic and did not have any control over
    herself at that point. How these people work with this woman is amazing
    to me. She really didn’t seem to care who heard any of it.

    You really had to see this to believe it. She came apart —
    literally unglued. She is the most foul-mouthed woman I’ve ever heard.
    And that voice at screech level — awful!

    She screamed she’d get that f*cking Lauer fired for this.
    Referring to Donald Trump, Clinton said, ‘If that f*cking bastard wins,
    we all hang from nooses! Lauer’s finished, and if I lose, it’s all on
    your heads for screwing this up.’ (Selection contributed by alfredbester)”

    “She screamed she’d get that f*cking Lauer fired for this.”

    And Matt Lauer did get fired didnt he? Hung by the same noose they tried to use on Trump.

  7. nomadd says:

    Im looking at you obama.

    GOP Rep Gaetz Calls for Appointment of Second Special Counsel — FBI, DoJ ‘Cannot Investigate Themselves’


    Military Tribunals – The Time Has Come

  8. nomadd says:

    another clue in obamagate

    Two Republican senators say they’ve uncovered an “unusual email” that
    Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice sent to
    herself on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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