According to Bloomberg, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the White House he opposes the release of controversial four-page memo from the House Intelligence Committee. What is notable about the report is that the objection is allegedly due to what Wray views as a false and inaccurate narrative. However, that should not be a reason alone to classify and withhold a document under Rule X.
When Wray read the memo, House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes asked him to identify anything false or inaccurate.
The report adds to the controversy created by a comment by President Donald Trump on his way out of the State of the Union last night. While the White House indicated that the President had not reviewed the document, he was captured on tape telling Representative Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina Republican, that it was “100 percent” that he would release the memo.
As I discussed in my column today in the Hill, the use of Rule X to declassify a document is a long-overdue use of the Committee authority given complaints that the agencies routinely use classified status to bury embarrassing or incriminating material. It would be highly problematic if Wray wanted to keep the memo classified simply because he did not agree with the conclusion or viewed them as inaccurate.
What is curious is that the fact of the FISA order is now public knowledge as is the target. It is not clear why such information would be deemed so classified as to bar declassification or release.