Barletta, Cartwright Differ On Memo Release

February 1, 2018 GMT

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta favors publicly releasing a secret House Intelligence Committee memo that focuses on the possible FBI surveillance abuses during its investigation into Russian meddling with the 2016 presidential election.

Rep. Matt Cartwright opposes releasing the memo.

Intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, wrote the memo, whose release President Donald Trump is expected to authorize, perhaps as early as today.

Nunes is a Trump ally.

Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, said he also favors releasing the Democratic response to the memo, which the intelligence committee has refused to do.

“I read both of them side by side and for me, it was alarming enough that the public deserves to see it,” Barletta said. “If we’re going to have transparency, full transparency means sunlight and let the American people judge for themselves.”

He does not believe releasing the memo will compromise any national secrets, processes or procedures, he said.

“It’s very serious what we’re talking about, whether or not the highest agency of law enforcement in the world is doing things to assure the American people that the power is not being used against the American people,” Barletta said.

Cartwright, D-17, Moosic, said he has not read either memo on purpose because he anticipated media questions about it and worries about revealing its sensitive contents.

“This is all classified information,” Cartwright said. “I’m leery of commenting to the press about things that are based upon classified information.”

He opposes releasing the memos because they do not contain all the facts of the FBI investigation.

“I am fully in favor of transparency in how the FBI investigation was carried out. I’m also equally in favor of accountability if impermissible lines were crossed. But when I talk about transparency, I want to see full transparency. I want to see truth, not half-truths,” Cartwright said.

He gleaned a flavor of the memo’s contents during a briefing by Democratic intelligence committee members, including Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the top-ranked Democratic committee member. Cartwright said he worries the Nunes memo contains only half-truths.

“I’d like to release all of the facts at once,” he said. “And the problem is that many of these facts, including the facts that give the entire context, are classified and probably should be classified. This is why the FBI is objecting to the release.”

Once he reads the memo next week, he said he will no longer discuss its contents publicly because the contents could be sensitive.

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