We're not saying it's time to panic, but ... we're not NOT saying it. On the same day that Donald Trump suggested James Comey and Andrew McCabe be put to death for treason, he has empowered Attorney General Bill Barr to unilaterally declassify any intelligence info he likes in his investigation of the investigation of the 2016 election campaign.

With respect to any matter classified under Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009 (Classified National Security Information), the Attorney General may, by applying the standard set forth in either section 3.1(a) or section 3.1(d) of Executive Order 13526, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review referred to in section 1 of this memorandum. Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department.

Bill Barr is engaged in a systematic campaign to stymie all congressional oversight, and now he has the right to selectively release anything he wants to massage the narrative in ways that make the boss happy. Just the way he did when he dropped that bullshit synopsis of the Mueller Report and let it hang out there for three weeks before letting (most of) the (still partially redacted) truth come out.

Got your bug-out bag packed yet? Good, because it gets worse! Bill Barr reportedly asked for this authority because he's been having trouble getting the CIA to cough up its confidential sources in Russia. The New York Times reports:

One official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said previously that Mr. Barr wanted to know more about what foreign assets the C.I.A. had in Russia in 2016 and what those informants were telling the agency about how President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sought to meddle in the 2016 election. [...]

The C.I.A. considers confidential sources its most highly classified and most protected assets, and any investigation that could possibly force it to reveal those identities is likely to create a standoff. Last year, the agency lost trust in the Justice Department's ability to keep the names of informants and sources secret after the identity of the F.B.I.'s source in the Trump campaign, Stefan Halper, was revealed as part of congressional investigations, according to former intelligence officials.

Forget about Russia's dogged efforts to flood American social media with lies and propaganda. Forget Putin's multiple efforts to get the Trump campaign to cancel the Magnitsky sanctions. Forget that Russian intelligence agents hacked the DNC and DCCC servers and selectively dumped the emails to harm Hillary Clinton's campaign. Forget that Russians penetrated dozens of states' electoral systems. Forget that this whole thing started because a Trump staffer bragged to multiple foreign government employees that Russia was about to start dumping hacked Democratic emails, and then they actually did it. The Attorney General wants you to forget all of that, and he's about to cherry pick a bunch of top secret classified information to make sure that you do.

Bill Barr's agenda is to prove that the Russia investigation was ILLEGAL because the Steele Dossier was "illegitimate." He doesn't care if he destroys America's ability to collect intel in Russia, he doesn't care if Russia hacks our elections again, and he doesn't give a damn about the people who work for him, as he proved in multiple interviews with Rupert Murdoch's minions where he accused the Justice Department of "spying" on Donald Trump. Barr is willing to burn down the entire agency if it helps Donald Trump get re-elected and spend another four years packing the courts.


[Memorandum on Declassification / NYT]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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