Government

Blum: Make House GOP FBI memo public

U.S. Rep. Rod Blum answers some questions after visiting Iowa BIG on the second floor of Kerndt Brothers Bank in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
U.S. Rep. Rod Blum answers some questions after visiting Iowa BIG on the second floor of Kerndt Brothers Bank in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

WATERLOO — U.S. 1st District Rep. Rod Blum has read the controversial congressional memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI and is among those members of Congress who urged its release to the public.

“People need to know what’s going on as far as politics and the FBI,” Blum said in a phone interview. “It’s disappointing to see our FBI become political and on behalf of one party over the other.”

Blum said he read the memo, written by majority Republican staff for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. The Intelligence Committee voted along party lines for its release for all members of the House to see. He read it in a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF. President Donald Trump was expected to approve the release of the memo to the general public, and Blum said that could occur as soon as today.

Blum said he could not discuss the memo’s contents but said there was “absolutely no doubt” the FBI was becoming “politicized” in an investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 general election.

“I’m not talking about FBI agents. They’re doing a great job. This goes to the highest echelons” of the agency, Blum said, including former director James Comey, recently resigned deputy director Andrew McCabe and former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration.

Specifically, Blum said, “People want to know whether the president (Trump) was wiretapped and what documents gave the FBI authority to do that.” He also said the process for authorizing warrants for such actions under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act needs to be looked at.

Asked about the FBI’s opposition to the memo’s release over concerns about a lack of context and accuracy, Blum responded, “We saw (FBI Deputy Director Andrew) McCabe resign a day ago after his boss, Director (Christopher) Wray, read the memo.” Wray, appointed by Trump, has urged the memo not be released.

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Blum said he has been consistent in his call for transparency, noting he also supported the release of pages redacted from a report on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Blum said there remains a pervasive politicization in Washington, as evidenced by congressional Democrats’ reaction to President Trump during his State of the Union speech, despite citizens’ pleas for bipartisanship.

“Resistance should not be rewarded,” Blum said.

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