Gowdy supports declassification of Russia investigation-related documents, says former CIA Dir Brennan will be “embarrassed”

Although many conservatives are upset with the on-again off-again declassification of documents related to the FBI’s Russian interference investigation, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) downplayed the document dump in an interview with Fox News on Thursday, while also warning that ex-CIA Director John Brennan would be embarrassed by the publication.

“I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s mind,” Gowdy said, “but I’ve seen nothing in it that is going to jeopardize the national security interest of this country.”

Much ado about nothing?

On Monday, President Donald Trump ordered that key documents from the government’s Russia collusion investigation of his own campaign should be declassified, including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) warrant applications and a trove of emails between disgraced FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. However, in a remarkable show of restraint, the president reversed course on Friday, explaining that he had been counseled that the declassification could be perceived as having “a negative impact on the Russia probe.”

Public embarrassment

Yet, Gowdy — who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and chairs the oversight panel — doesn’t believe that there are any national security concerns worthy of stalling the declassification. While the publication of documents going back to the early phases of the Russia collusion probe might embarrass some high-ranking members of the intelligence and national security communities, argued Gowdy, they don’t endanger U.S. national security.

Gowdy singled out Brennan as the individual who bears the greatest risk of walking away red-faced whenever the documents are eventually released. “Some of it is embarrassing for the Department of Justice; some of it is embarrassing for the FBI. Embarrassment is not the reason to classify something,” he said. “A lot of it should be embarrassing to John Brennan and maybe therein lies why he is so adamant that this information not be released.”

This isn’t the first time that House Democrats have attempted to hide intelligence agency abuses under the false pretense of national security concerns. Prior to the declassification of the Nunes memo, which demonstrated how the FBI and DOJ used unverified political research to form the basis for a FISC warrant against short-term Trump aide Carter Page, Democrats protested vociferously.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned that publishing the Nunes Memo was a “dangerous irresponsibility and disregard for our national security.” Yet, when the completely unredacted document was finally released in February, Americans saw for themselves that Democratic posturing was much ado about nothing.

When it comes to the Russia probe, Gowdy hasn’t always seen eye to eye with mainstream Republicans, either. Writing after the South Carolina legislator downplayed the news that the Obama administration sent an FBI spy to interact with the Trump campaign, National Review editor Andrew McCarthy accused Gowdy of “dous[ing] the controversy with cold water.” McCarthy described Gowdy’s failure to see the problem with spying on an opponent’s political campaign:

Gowdy’s fire truck pulled into Fox News Tuesday night for an interview by Martha MacCallum. An able lawyer, the congressman is suddenly on a mission to protect the Justice Department and the FBI from further criticism.

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Fortunately, it’s only a matter of time before Americans are able to see for themselves the level of partisan corruption at play within the highest levels of the Justice Department and FBI.

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