Last week, top Congressional Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff fought against the release of a GOP-backed memo detailing alleged government surveillance abuses concerning the FISA court. But many are now blasting the Democrat for politically motivated hypocrisy since the resurfacing of a 2013 appearance of the rep. on Russian propaganda outlet RT arguing for more transparency surrounding the FISA system.
What exactly changed? Seemingly his party's interest and little else.
The FISA court system needs to be "much more transparent so that the American people can understand what is being done in their name and in the name of national security so that we can have a more informed debate over the balance between privacy and security," argued Schiff on RT.
"I think this can be accomplished while also maintaining sources and methods and not compromising some of the very real national security concerns at stake," he added.
Oddly, just last week, Schiff was on the forefront of the attacks from fellow Democrats and their media allies when the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the needlessly contentious memo. Schiff argued the transparency would harm national interests and said the vote to release its contents marked a "very sad day" in "the history of this committee."
"Today, this committee voted to put the president’s personal interests, perhaps their own political interests, above the national interest," said the Democrat.
The memo's release confirmed that warrants to surveil Trump campaign advisor Carter Page would not have been granted had it not been for the unreliable opposition research dossier provided by allegedly anti-Trump partisan Christopher Steele and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Democrats have since drafted a 10-page counter memo, which is currently with President Trump waiting for the okay to be released to the public. This memo, strangely, has not raised national security concerns from Democrats.
Asked why Schiff has had a change of heart when it comes to the FISA system, the Democrat told Fox News that it is actually Republicans who have changed their tune.
"I introduced bipartisan legislation in 2013 to require Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions which contained significant statutory construction or interpretation to be declassified, with appropriate redactions," he said in a statement. "A very similar provision was signed into law as part of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act, which I supported because when the FISC engages in a significant constitutional or statutory analysis, for instance on authorizing bulk collection of phone records, the public interest in transparency should be weighed."
"That is a wholly different issue than declassifying a FISC order authorizing surveillance against a particular agent of a foreign power, which by its nature includes highly classified sources and methods and which would alert the targets of the surveillance and allow them to evade detection. It is ironic many of the members who expressed concern that the USA FREEDOM Act went too far now are among those pushing for the release of FISA materials in an 'extraordinarily reckless' fashion, in the words of the DOJ," the statement continued.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut had a similar change of tune as Rep. Schiff, arguing for a "more transparent" and "more accountable" FISA court on MSNBC in 2013.
Last week, Blumenthal said the release of the Nunes memo was "reminiscent of the darkest days of the McCarthy era."
"It endangers methods and sources of the intelligence community," he said. "And it reflects an effort to distract from the [Robert] Mueller investigation."