Now that President Trump has officially designated the Declassification Memorandum we can review the specifics for process, content and timing. Our previous research led to a set of expectations for the directive. Now, that we have the directive in hand, we gain increased clarity of purpose.
♦ First, President Trump has assigned ownership of the Directive to U.S. Attorney General William Barr. This part was predictable because the purpose of declassification would be to facilitate a DOJ review of how the intelligence apparatus was used in the 2016 election.
♦ Secondly, following protocol, the Memorandum is specific to the agencies carrying the documentation that will be reviewed by the Attorney General: The Secretary of State (Pompeo); the Secretary of Treasury (Mnuchin); the Secretary of Defense (Shanahan); the Secretary of Energy (Perry); the Secretary of Homeland Security (McAleenan); the Director of National Intelligence (Coats); the Director of the CIA (Haspel), and the Attorney General himself (Barr).
The agencies give insight into the intelligence product (ie. evidence) being reviewed. The Treasury and Energy agency was surprisingly notable:
The appearance of Treasury and Energy would indicate the pre-existence of investigative evidence; that would be subject to ongoing DOJ review; and potentially be part of ongoing proceedings.
Potential target issues could include: (1) an investigation of Uranium One; (2) an investigation of the Clinton Foundation; and, (3) an investigation of matters related to payments to Iran.
♦ Third, within the memorandum the President does not allow AG Bill Barr to delegate authority. However, all agencies are required to respond to Barr’s authority.
The purpose of the Declassification Directive also appears to permit the DOJ Inspector General to include classified material in the body of the upcoming report on FISA abuse; this memorandum is granting AG Bill Barr the autonomy to make that decision and declassify that content.
♦ Lastly, regarding the timing of release…. While the purpose of the authority is to empower AG Bill Barr to collect, process and declassify intelligence product that is part of the DOJ investigative review, this does not preclude the public release of intelligence information in advance of the IG report on potential FISA abuse.
Much of the intelligence information may be collected external to the IG review parameters (FISA process), and may be released independently as part of stand-alone declassification that pertains to weaponized DOJ, FBI and CIA political activity.
Ultimately the decision to release, and the timing therein, is now in the hands of U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
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May 23, 2019