It is difficult to discern truth from deception, particularly in a historical time of saturation. Media bias has long existed, but the drive for the release of news information has, for decades, been a driving goal of media.
With the FISA memo, the majority of media opposed its release.
The argument for not releasing it was that its content threatens national security.
Is the FISA Memo reliable? Did the authors tell the truth?
Lost Confidence in Law Enforcement
Americans lost confidence when it learned that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups and when sued in court, reported that they lost 30,000 emails.
Then, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set up a private email server from her home. This was followed by the "Clinton Cash" scandal in which individuals and nations that donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, or paid exuberant fees to Bill Clinton, gained favorable State Dept. rulings.
The newly hired low level state worker knows that he will lose his job and face legal consequences for simply transmitting a single confidential name via personal email. It is something all are trained on and warned against. Yet, Hillary Clinton's interview was made with "no memorial"; that is, no audio, video or even personal notes from the interviewer, Peter Strozk. We later read Strozk' text messages with Lisa Page.
Bill Clinton met with Loretta Lynch and officials sought to stop news of the Tarmac meeting from reaching the press.
Director James Comey then announced that "no prosecution" was recommended, though classified data was both transmitted, and denied to the FBI, by Hillary Clinton.
It is very challenging to believe justice was served in this matter.
Director Comey's statement has been analyzed here.
We need to know the truth.
Even in small town America, judges will ask direct questions about an affidavit in support of an action. We need to know: was the judge giving the information necessary to make a decision, or was it deliberately withheld? We need to know: if the judge was not given information, did he ask for it? We need to know competency was on both sides of the legal table in the affidavit, certification and granting of the warrant.
The crisis of confidence has been in place for America before the claim by President Trump that President Obama had surveilled him.
Truth and Transparency.
We know that our security as a nation rests upon intelligence, which cannot readily be shared. When such intelligence is abused, however, the "fear of the unknown" rests upon the nation.
I am old enough to remember that Democrats and Republicans used to debate ideas and the media, in spite of bias, sought to bring light and transparency to issues. The recent Hollywood portrayal of the Washington Post is praise to the Post for bringing information (Watergate) to light; as journalists sought to do.
If you hold to a contrary position, you may have supported the IRS targeting particular political positions, and may support surveillance of private U.S. citizens using partisan funded information.
Yet, as history shows, the pendulum often swings back in the other direction. This is why Freedom of Speech and a non-political justice system has, historically, been supported by all Americans. If you support tyranny today, you or your children and grandchildren, may come to regret such support.
Popular today is this: If you disagree, you are a "Nazi" and are of a character and bearing so base, that you are to be deplored and your opinion silenced. An entire generation of young people have grown up believing this and it is leading to incivility that precedes violence.
I have friends and relatives who are Democrats and Republicans. They all experienced pressure to divide, even in family, by politicians who, alone, gain from the exploitative division.
Understanding the Memo
How can we discern?
We may read the Memo through the lens of statement analysis knowing that deception is only discerned in intent. Error is not.
We may read and analyze the statements made, pro and con, regarding the Memo, through the same lens that serves us so well.
We look for overly sensitive persuasion versus reporting of fact. If a fact is wrong, or incomplete, it can be rectified with more information. It does not signal deception, but error.
We listen carefully to the authors.
We listen carefully to the detractors.
We listen carefully to the supporters.
We listen carefully for the argument to release it; we listen carefully for the argument that it poses a risk of national security.
Are those defending its release truthful?
Are those condemning its release truthful?
What are the quality (strength in sentences) of both sides?
Is anyone using deception to further the position?
Is anyone using excessive sensitive persuasion to hold a position?
Is anyone using exaggeration, fear-mongering, or diversion tactics?
Did you see a threat to national security?
Did you discern a need to squelch and if so, from whom, and of what analytical quality?
Is anyone, on either side, allowing the psychological wall of truth to stand on its own? This speaks to strength of belief, rather than deception.
When we discern deception, it helps us understand far more of the argument than the subject ever intended.
Some are falsely claiming that believing the Memo is an attack on the FBI and law enforcement.
Few are falsely claiming that the Memo is an indictment of law enforcement.
The FBI and America
The FBI Academy and the National Academy are the envy of law enforcement throughout the western world.
They teach the best and brightest the art of investigation. They are continually pressing forward in information gathering to protect society from crime, within and without.
FBI agents can, almost universally, receive better pay in the private sector than working in law enforcement. These men and women deliberately choose lower pay because of service. They serve the cause of justice, and make the nation a better place for us, our children, and our children's children.
Local law enforcement professionals seek the privilege of a semester at the National Academy. Those who are able to study there report never being quite the same again. There, they meet dedicated professionals who have a single focus: improve law enforcement through knowledge.
They are not partisan, they do not teach partisan politics and like field agents, they too could receive higher pay in the private sector. They, like their students, are proud of their work. They receive satisfaction beyond the pay received. It is who they are. Justice, through law enforcement, is in their DNA.
The potential for corruption is always present for all of us in all fields of work.
If it turns out that the FISA Memo reliably reports corruption, swift justice is the best remedy.
While America watches, what is a typical FBI agent doing today?
Sifting through 1,000 bits of boring, mind numbing data, of which the needle in the haystack type of concentration may save lives.
They are like the goaltender at a hockey game.
If they make a single mistake, instead of 15,000 "supervisors" howling and booing disapproval at them, lives may be lost.
They are not paid commesurate with their dedicated work.
At least the goalie gets paid millions and has 6 months vacation time. Not so for the professionals who, day in and day out, with no contact with the upper echelon who may nor may not be entangled with politicians, they quietly do their work.
At the National Academy, law enforcement from not only around the United States are enrolled, but from around the world. Those with English as a second language seek the privilege of studying there.
The Academy is a monument to investigative excellence.
The FBI National Academy is a place of higher learning for those who protect and serve, taken from the ranks of our local police departments. Those who teach there are among our "best and brightest" and those who learn there are among our "best and brightest" throughout the United States.
Broad strokes from politician or media are unjust. Yet, some seek to do just this, particularly drawing our attention to the possibility of diversion deception. The men and women of the FBI, the instructors, and the support staff about them, are not at issue.
What is at issue is a small and specific group of individuals of whom we must learn if they acted illegally, illicitly, and unethically, while at their post, for the sake of politics.
When a cop is corrupt, we often find the media giving undo notice to those who claim the corruption to be universal.
It is unjust.
Regrettably, but necessarily, we will never know how many lives have been saved by intelligent methodical investigation by those who will receive no public credit, award or professional recognition.
"War on Police"
In 2009, a sitting president condemned a Boston police officer as a "racist" upon news of an arrest. This was the first verbal shot at not only police, but law enforcement in general, and it would lead us down a terrible path.
From there, the tone was set and the assigning of personal motive led to campaigns against law enforcement in general. Police were attacked, insulted, put under suspicion and it became popular to exclude them from eateries. Worse, entire movements were created, based upon deception, and raised anger among many, including the unstable among us.
Police officers died because of the rhetoric.
American citizens in vulnerable high crime areas were put at increased risk of violent crime. School teachers taught children to fear, not respect, law enforcement and the results, entirely predictable, have emerged, including homicide increases as criminal elements have been emboldened by the anti law enforcement rhetoric.
After 8 years of this dangerous and lethal atmosphere where law enforcement has had to cope, they do not need any further politicizing of their work, by the general classification of blame upon them all.
Conclusion of the Matter
We, the American people, benefit from justice, and we, the American people, are harmed by injustice.
If Director James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, Peter Strozk, Hillary Clinton and all the others associated acted in good faith and within the bounds of law, they need to be cleared of all suspicion.
If they perverted justice in the Clinton investigation, deceived and broke laws, the clearing of the air will be welcomed by not only America, but by law enforcement throughout America who have been unjustly tainted by the corruption of a few.
If President Trump committed criminal conspiracy and nullified the democratic process of the voting of American citizens, he must be tried and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If not, we will continue a slide to "third world politics" that is marked by corruption and enforced by violence.
If he did not, and the FISA warrant was done illicitly at the behest and payment of politicians, we must obtain justice by swift and fair prosecution.
If actors did so because they believed they were "stopping Hitler before he murdered the Jews", their motive is of no consequence legally; we leave it up to their own consciences and faith, and follow the rule of law.
"Fair and Balanced"?
Media, rather than taking sides, should be both reporting fact and clamoring for documents to make the light of day so that America can continue as a nation of laws.
We are in a Constitutional Crisis today.
We need to read and understand the language of the Memo, and of subsequent Memos.
Did it reveal FISA abuse?
Will subsequent memos have strong language, or will they be tangential, persuasive or even partisan?
Will subsequent memos refute error? Or will they affirm wrong doing?
We need the truth. We need transparency that does not put security at risk.
We need politicians to see themselves at a point of history where they can put aside self interest, and put what is best for the American nation as priority.
We need to maintain respect for our professionals in law enforcement, from local to state to federal.