90 Miles From Tyranny : Let The Gamechanging Begin: Trump Authorizes Declassification Of Crossfire Hurricane Origins

Friday, May 24, 2019

Let The Gamechanging Begin: Trump Authorizes Declassification Of Crossfire Hurricane Origins

Trey Gowdy promised earlier this week that declassifying evidence related to the start of Operation Crossfire Hurricane would be a “game-changer.” Looks like we’ll shortly find out how accurate Gowdy’s prediction would be. Late this evening, the White House announced that Donald Trump authorized Attorney General William Barr to declassify any documents related to his probes of the FBI counterintelligence operation:
President Donald Trump directed the U.S. intelligence community on Thursday to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of the origins of the multi-year probe of whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. 
The move marked an escalation in Trump’s efforts to “investigate the investigators,” as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation.

Escalation? That’s an odd way to characterize declassification. The escalation already took place when Barr appointed Durham to run a separate probe. This is just making it somewhat more transparent — with the “somewhat” part reliant on how much and precisely what gets declassified.

Speaking of which, CNN also notes that this reinforces Barr’s central role in dealing with intelligence operations related to Crossfire Hurricane:

According to a memo released by the White House, the “heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.”

As CNN has previously reported, Barr is working closely with the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review the origins of the Russia investigation — an effort the President had long demanded.

That central role in assessing and declassifying intel is a little unusual. Normally, one would expect the Director of National Intelligence to take charge of dealing with declassifying intel, even that developed by the FBI in a domestic counter-intel operation. That’s why the ODNI was created, after all — to centralize intelligence collection and analysis and have a direct path to the president. Trump’s executive order in this instance shifts the ODNI to essentially a direct report to the AG for the purposes of...

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