MoveOn.org Files Complaint Against Rep. Nunes for Violation of the Espionage Act

by mlarson59 –

Anna Galland, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, submitted a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday, stating:

THE UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION BY CHAIRMAN NUNES FOR WHAT APPEAR TO BE BLATANTLY POLITICAL PURPOSES IS NOT MERELY A POLICY MATTER OR A MATTER ABOUT THE CHAIRMAN’S IMPARTIALITY IN CONDUCTING THE BUSINESS OF HIS COMMITTEE. IT IS A MATTER THAT IMPLICATES THE INTEGRITY OF THE HOUSE AND ITS PROCEDURES AND ROLE IN THE PROPER HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION THAT IS, OF COURSE, CRITICAL TO ENABLE THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEES TO PERFORM THEIR LEGISLATING AND OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS IN NATIONAL SECURITY.

The essence of the complaint is the following sequence:

THE EXISTENCE OF AN APPLICATION FOR FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT, 50 U.S.C. §§1801 ET SEQ.—WHAT CHAIRMAN NUNES REFERRED TO AS “WARRANTS”—IS, OF COURSE, CLASSIFIED, AND DISCLOSURE OF THE INFORMATION ITSELF CAN BE MADE ONLY IN COURT PROCEEDINGS UNDER CAREFULLY PRESCRIBED PROCEDURES. (50 U.S.C. §1806).

AS FBI DIRECTOR COMEY TESTIFIED BEFORE CHAIRMAN NUNES’ OWN COMMITTEE, “ALL FISA APPLICATIONS REVIEWED BY THE COURT AND COLLECTION BY US PURSUANT TO OUR FISA AUTHORITY IS CLASSIFIED.” FURTHER, THE EXISTENCE AND CONTENTS OF ANY INFORMATION ACQUIRED FROM ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE AUTHORIZED UNDER FISA IS FORBIDDEN EXCEPT UNDER PROCEDURES SET OUT IN THAT ACT, 50 U.S.C. §1806(A).

U.S. SENATOR RON WYDEN (D-OR), A MEMBER OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE, STATED THAT CHAIRMAN NUNES’ STATEMENTS “APPEAR TO REVEAL CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, WHICH IS A SERIOUS CONCERN.” (G. MILLER, K. DEMIRJIAN AND D. BARRETT, “HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIR SAYS TRUMP CAMPAIGN OFFICIALS WERE ENSNARED IN SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS,” THE WASHINGTON POST, HTTPS://WWW.WASHINGTONPOST.COM/POWERPOST/HOUSE-INTELLIGENCE-CHAIR-SAYS-ITSPOSSIBLE-TRUMPS-COMMUNICATIONS-WERE-INTERCEPTED/2017/03/22/F45E18BA-0F2D-11E7- 9B0D-D27C98455440_STORY.HTML?UTM_TERM=.8EA790E160EB\—MARCH 22, 2017)

UNDER THE ESPIONAGE ACT, IT IS A FEDERAL FELONY FOR ANYONE TO MAKE “AVAILABLE TO AN UNAUTHORIZED PERSON, OR PUBLISHES … ANY CLASSIFIED INFORMATION … CONCERNING THE COMMUNICATION INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED STATES … ” 18 U.S.C. §798(A)(3).

WHILE CHAIRMAN NUNES IS, OF COURSE, ROUTINELY AUTHORIZED TO OBTAIN AND REVIEW CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, NOTHING IN THAT STATUTE OR ANY OTHER LAW AUTHORIZES HIM TO RELEASE SUCH INFORMATION PUBLICLY, PARTICULARLY IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY BUT FOR BLATANTLY POLITICAL PURPOSES.

TO THE CONTRARY, HOUSE RULE X, CLAUSE 11(G)(1) PROVIDES THAT THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE MAY PUBLICLY DISCLOSE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IN ITS POSSESSION ONLY AFTER A DETERMINATION BY THE COMMITTEE ITSELF—AFTER A VOTE OF THE FULL COMMITTEE— “THAT THE PUBLIC INTEREST WOULD BE SERVED BY SUCH DISCLOSURE.”

THAT CLAUSE FURTHER PROVIDES THAT “A MEMBER OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE MAY NOT MAKE SUCH A DISCLOSURE BEFORE A VOTE BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE MATTER, OR AFTER A VOTE BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE MATTER, EXCEPT IN ACCORDANCE WITH” THE RULE. ID. CLAUSE (G)(1)(B).

THE RULE DOES NOT PERMIT PUBLIC DISCLOSURE EVEN AFTER A VOTE UNTIL NOTIFICATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE VOTE, AND EXPIRATION OF A FIVE-DAY PERIOD. ID. CLAUSE 11(G)(2). THERE IS NO EXCEPTION FOR THE CHAIRMAN OR ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE.

It is time, as MoveOn.org Campaign Director Jo Comerford said today, for Congress to stop all business and focus on the creation of an independent commission and the appointment of a special prosecutor. If not, the American people will never be able to trust that the Trump campaign did not engage in illegal collusion with a foreign government to sabotage a U.S. election.

Full text of the complaint is available here.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos