FBI says it has 'grave concerns' about accuracy of hotly debated FISA memo

  • A fiercely debated memo alleging abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act contains "material omissions of fact," the FBI told CNBC Wednesday.
  • The White House has not guaranteed that Trump will allow the memo to be released.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray
Getty Images
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray

The FBI on Wednesday said that a fiercely debated memo alleging abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the Russia probe contains "material omissions of fact" that undermine its accuracy.

The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines this week to approve releasing the memo, assembled by panel Chairman Devin Nunes, to President Donald Trump and then to the public. The White House has not guaranteed that Trump will allow the memo to be released.

It is important to note that the statement was unsigned, not under the name of FBI Director Christopher Wray or anyone else. The statement is at odds with what White House chief of staff John Kelly said earlier Wednesday. The discrepancy is unusual.

"It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it," Kelly said in an interview with Fox News Radio.

Read the statement the FBI sent CNBC below:

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.

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.

Various reports have said that Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein warned Kelly against releasing the memo.

Nunes later responded to the FBI's statement, accusing the bureau and the Justice Department of issuing "spurious objections" to the memo's release.

Having stonewalled Congress' demands for information for nearly a year, it's no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies. The FBI is intimately familiar with 'material omissions' with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses. Regardless, it's clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign. Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.