The Nunes Memo Shows America Slouching Toward an East German Future

By John Zmirak Published on February 4, 2018

If you want to know all the ins and outs of the war between the Deep State and Donald Trump’s voters, go read Victor Davis Hanson in National Review. A military historian, he unpacks the battle skirmish by skirmish. A few of his high points:

Obama appointees in the FBI and Department of Justice who supported Hillary Clinton appear to have tried to harm Donald Trump’s campaign. Why? A mixture of partisan fervor, Trump-induced panic, and the wish to win brownie points with their likely future boss. Certainly most thought she would win, and draw a dark veil over their underground activities. To target the Trump campaign, they used a dubiously Constitutional weapon designed for use on terrorists and spies: A FISA warrant, issued in secret, rubber-stamped by judges without appeal or public scrutiny. Their pretext? The claim that the Trump campaign was colluding with the government of Russia. That’s not a crime. Nor are we at war with Russia. But in theory it could open the door to Russian espionage. You know, down the road. If Trump won. I guess.

Watergate Was a Civics Class by Comparison

How did these partisans atop the FBI and DOJ support this claim? What could they tell one of the (unnamed) judges in the secret court to win such a massive invasion of a U.S. citizen’s privacy? According to Hanson, “The basis of the requests was an anti-Trump dossier that the FBI and DOJ had purchased from a private concern.” He means the infamous Steele Dossier, which even the FBI admitted it considered a pile of unsubstantiated and scurrilous gossip. Opposition research, of the kind that every campaign worth its salt sweeps up and rarely uses. Stuff on the order of the false claims that Ted Cruz had slept with a long list of women not his wife.

Except that the FBI didn’t admit that to the judge. He must have thought they were relying on actual U.S. intel, so he dutifully rubber-stamped their request. Oh yes, and the Feds threw in a story from Yahoo News, which was based on leaks from … the author of the dossier, Mr. Steele. As Hanson summarizes:

Apparently, no FBI or DOJ officials informed the court over the duration of these various requests that a) the dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign, b) the FBI in turn apparently paid to obtain it, c) supporting news stories used to substantiate the dossier were the result of deliberately leaking the same document to seed stories in media organizations, or d) a DOJ official both met the author of the dossier and informed the FBI that he was a biased source — but either did not inform other DOJ and FBI officials that his own spouse was a collaborator who worked on the dossier, or such knowledge was known to DOJ and FBI officials but not passed on at some point to the FISA judge, apparently because the court might not have otherwise approved of the request or might have acted to revoke prior requests.

The Government Trying to Rig an Election

Have you got that? It stinks to high heaven. It’s a clear attempt by a government to swing the outcome of a U.S. election all right. But not Russia’s government. Our own. Not by slipping dirt to a political campaign or taking out Facebook ads (which Russia may have done or tried to do). No, by wiretapping campaign officials and passing the information up the chain to President Obama. Who surely would never, ever have shared such information with the woman he hoped would succeed him.

No, that would never happen in America. There’s no way that Obama would have squelched an FBI probe into her illegal broadcast of classified information on unsecured servers, right? Say, by sending the Attorney General to meet with her husband on a tarmac somewhere?

Hanson’s piece unpacks all you need to know about what happened. Let me explain why it matters. And for that, let’s go to the movies. The award-winning 2006 film The Lives of Others shows us what happens when law enforcement gets politicized.



Silencing Dissidents in the USA

Yes, it’s set in East Germany, so the secret police have greater power to shanghai citizens than they do here. But the essentials aren’t that different. Any government can abuse authority and crush its citizens like bugs, if they aren’t vigilant. Look at how Southern segregationists abused civil rights activists. As I wrote last year:

For instance, the state of Alabama demanded a complete list of the members of the NAACP, which backed a civil rights boycott of segregated buses — fully aware that, if these people were exposed, they might be subject to bombings or assassination attempts.

Read Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal. Her chilling book The Intimidation Game explains that historic outrage — and copycat abuses of citizens by Obama’s IRS and Department of Justice. From my review:

Strassel tells the personal stories of a dozen or so Americans who were civic-minded enough to organize small, local groups to speak out on issues of moral and political concern. These topics ranged from racial segregation in the 1960s to voter fraud, deficit spending, climate activism, and public employee unions in the 2010s. Strassel shows how these citizens were subjected by government agencies to campaigns of harassment, unwarranted tax audits, interrogation, false prosecution, and in some cases armed raids on their private homes that put their families’ lives in danger.

Armed raids like the pre-dawn assault on the home of Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign advisor, in search of documents he’d already agreed to turn over. Just to cite something that Special Counsel Robert Mueller must have personally ordered.

Corruption Grows in Darkness

In The Lives of Others, we see secret policemen home in on a harmless couple, playwright Georg Dreyman and his girlfriend, actress Christa-Maria Sieland. They put the couple under non-stop surveillance, and bug their home. They get authorization to do this in secret (just like the FISA court) citing a threat to “national security” (ditto). But here’s the twist: The two aren’t even dissidents. Dreyman may be the last intellectual in East Germany who still holds out hope for that bankrupt system. Christa is completely apolitical, just ambitious. Their dissident friends are cowed and beaten down from the latest round of vicious crackdowns.

Any government can abuse authority and crush its citizens like bugs, if they aren’t vigilant. Look at how Southern segregationists abused civil rights activists.

So why target them? Because a Communist Party honcho — as fat, ruthless and repulsive as Harvey Weinstein — wants Christa-Maria for himself. And he wants George out of the way. So he orders his underlings to find something, anything, to justify locking him up.

An American Stasi?

That’s the kind of corruption that can set in, like fungus, in dark, unaccountable corners of secret organizations. Of politicized secret police, like the East German Stasi — and, we now know, Obama’s FBI and DOJ. Things are worse, by far, in one-party states — as the U.S. will soon become, if we don’t stop the Democrats from importing millions of new immigrant voters.

It’s a clear attempt by a government to swing the outcome of a U.S. election all right. But not Russia’s government. Our own.

But think about that. This is how far Democrats were willing to go in a country where Republicans are still (barely) competitive. Where our press is nominally free. They must have known how completely most media were in the bag for them. Witness the fact that The Washington Post, which is now basking in the glory of exposing the Pentagon Papers (thanks to Spielberg’s movie, The Post), opposed the release of the Nunes memo. It has spent every subsequent news cycle trying to obscure or minimize its import. So has most of the press.

If the “DREAMERs” and their chain-migrant cousins turn Texas and Florida blue, and we have Democratic presidents for the next several decades, how much worse will it get?

We can look to deep-blue California for a preview. There Kamala Harris tried to imprison pro-life journalists for probing Planned Parenthood. Now she’s a U.S. senator, whom some think should run for president. What would President Harris’ FBI look like? A lot more like the Stasi than we would like to admit.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Albert Sterwerf

    What I find of interest about the memo is: Why was it classified as Top Secret in the first place. Not considering its political implications – there is nothing in the memo that should qualify it as Top Secret. There is no foreign intelligence sources–other than Steele and he released his identity himself–revealed in the memo. There are no classified information gathering methods or procedures revealed in the memo – unless you count buying questionable material from a domestic political party. Nor are there any references to or quotes from any valid Top Secret materials referenced in the preparation of the memo.

    As a retired Naval Officer who has worked with actual Top Secret material: all I see in the memo is partisan politics. The Republicans used theatrics to garner interest in the memo by having its classification removed and the Democrats, FBI and DOJ where attempting to hide their apparent improper–and potentially illegal–collusion during the election.

    My final question is: What other “Top Secret” material is being illegally classified as Top Secret by OUR government to hide from We the People?

    • Paul

      “My final question is: What other “Top Secret” material is being illegally classified as Top Secret by OUR government to hide from We the People?”

      That is a question I’ve long had as well. It’s a great system for those in charge to hide what you don’t want exposed, just rubber stamp it top secret and file it away. FISA makes it even worse.

      • Chip Crawford

        It is kin to the tactic of giving info/docs to one’s attorney so they become attorney-client privileged.

        • Paul

          While both can be seen to conceal, they are quite different in that A/C privilege is shielding a person from the intrusion of govt while Top Secret is govt hiding info from those they are supposed to represent.

          • Chip Crawford

            Yep, “kin” means similar, not the same. I cannot agree that “Top Secret” or “Classified” and similar are automatically used to hide. They are designed to shield from enemy view. Historically, that has been the case. I’m not adopting a cynical downer on sound practice just because we have current cases of abuse involving HRC and the aftermath of the election.

  • Chip Crawford

    It will be interesting to hear what is offered in rebuttal. Currently, it is claimed that the dossier was not used to obtain the FISA warrant and/or it was not the only thing used.

  • Kevin Carr

    FISA warrants are only supposed to be used to investigate foreign terrorists, not American citizens, the only way Americans are caught up in a FISA is if they are cooperating, or in some way aiding terrorist. The FBI didn’t go to a regular court because they knew it would get slapped down. That was illegal from the start.

  • Patmos

    The cognitive dissonance of so many on the left is very real, and one of the more serious problems this country has faced in a generation at least. They are so beholden to their dear leaders Hillary and Barack, that even the suggestion of corruption launches them into hysteria. They simply cannot handle it, and must resort to irrationality in order to appease the conflict.

    As if their reaction to something as simple as a lost election wasn’t bad enough, they are now seemingly willing to not only be sheep headed to the slaughter, but also now willing to slaughter themselves.

    The few remaining sane voices on the left have their hands tied behind their back, tied by the political correctness set up by those suffering from this cognitive dissonance, so that all on the left are held prisoner.

    I would call it a coup, but it’s merely the fruit of the reprobate mind. It is a house built on sand and it will collapse.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Perhaps even more incriminating than “the memo” is for supporters of the previous 8 years of ambiguous rule are the responses to it by the left. What went from the end of civilization as we know it where it to be released intact has now transmuted into the biggest “nothing burger’ w/or w/out fries.
    If we can thank Mr Nunes for anything it’s his stellar contribution to the unmasking not only the players in the FBI & DOJ but their co conspirators as well. Practically every democrat , most all of Hollywood & the MSM mouthpieces have unequivocally shown their true colors.
    As if democratic inertia & pained expressions of angst at the SOTU affirmations of this administrations positive steps towards addressing things these guys are supposed to care about wasn’t enough …!!

  • Kevin Quillen

    law and order is only used against “little people”. The elite and powerful are immune. America is corrupt to it’s core, and gasping it’s last few breaths before death. If you are a celebrity, politician, or wealthy person you are protected. Little folks pay dearly for “crimes”. Did Tiger Woods lose his drivers license? No. You or I would have in the same circumstance. Politicians caught lying, abusing their position and power all the time. Both parties. News story for a brief time and then the next crises erases it from the headline. The media are controlled by the government. Told what they can and cannot report. Proof? How many news stories do you see about the bad results of police swat raids. None, but you could probably do a story a day about innocent people killed or family pets shot, or wrong address raids, and a host of other issues. Or the fact the the majority of them produce NO evidence. Why is this not reported? It is allowed to keep the people in fear and obedience to the state. America is dead!

    • mr. producer

      The media are controlled by Jews. Face it, we are no longer a Christian country.

  • Patmos

    Kimberley Strassel is brilliant by the way. I know her colleague Peggy Noonan at the WSJ got the Pulitzer and everything, but that’s probably because Noonan tends to candy coat her stuff. Strassel cuts right to the point, looking to please no one.

  • Diogenes71

    The Lives of Others is a classic movie. Its exposes the personal and state selfishness behind the East German Stasi surveillance on the population.

    Knowledge is power. Government is force. In totalitarian states, these are absolutes.

    People cannot be trusted with their own thoughts, desires and lives. The State controls all.

    The modern American Left has been undermining our freedoms for decades through its usurpation of the universities and the media, TV, movies, novels, etc.

    Most Americans are too ignorant of their representative republic roots to know that the totalitarian state is rising from the swamp and threatening us all.

    Misses Strassel and others are to be treasured for telling the truth.

    • mr. producer

      Now ask yourself, who owns and controls the media, TV, movies, etc?

  • bill

    tin foil hat time.

Why Your Creativity Matters to God
Art Lindsley
More from The Stream
Connect with Us