The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat said Wednesday he’s working with the FBI to try to minimize the number of redactions to the Democratic rebuttal to the GOP’s intelligence memo alleging FBI abuses of its surveillance authority.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor’s breakfast that he said the FBI has flagged everything that wasn’t in the public domain.
“What it appears the FBI did – and I assume this was at the request of the White House – is identify anything in our memo that wasn’t already public,” Schiff said.
Schiff noted that the GOP’s memo, spearheaded by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, was initially classified, too, before the panel’s Republicans voted to declassify it.
“So in our view, even looking at what the FBI has identified as classified, a lot of it is already in the public domain,” Schiff said. “The question is what should we declassify in the public interest? And there, the committee voted unanimously that we ought to declassify this except as to any matters, I think, that go to sources or methods or deep investigative interests.”
Last week, President Donald Trump said he would not be releasing the contents of the Democrats’ memo because it contained “numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.”
Schiff said Wednesday he is in discussions with the FBI to discuss which redactions were needed, and hopes for a resolution soon.
Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday that the FBI requested revisions or redactions of 47 items in the Schiff memo.
“It was obvious in the first two paragraphs, this can’t be released. You read a little bit further, that can’t be released,” Stewart said. “You look at the footnotes, I think they’ve asked for revisions of 47 things in that memo. And that wasn’t the White House, by the way, that was the FBI and the Department of Justice that asked for those revisions.”
Schiff on Wednesday declined to confirm that number. He downplayed the significance of the number of revisions, saying he was focused working with the FBI about what specifically could be declassified that didn’t reveal sources and methods.
Earlier this month, Trump opted to release the Republican memo, which accuses the FBI of suppressing Democratic ties to an opposition research dossier on then-candidate Trump and Russia used in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.