MSNBC host Katy Tur on Thursday compared House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) to former CIA employee, government contractor, and wanted fugitive Edward Snowden.
Tur echoed claims from fellow NBC News colleague Ken Dilanian that Nunes’ push to release the surveillance memo are reminiscent of Snowden’s, who leaked classified information from the National Security Administration and currently lives in hiding in Moscow. Snowden fled the country after the Department of Justice charged him for violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.
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The classified memo in question, commissioned by Nunes, is expected to allege abuses on the behalf of the FBI and Justice Department, arguing officials abused their authority to surveil former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
"It is not normal for anyone in the government to expose secret material that sheds light on FISA surveillance," Tur said. "As Ken Dilanian also noted, when Edward Snowden did that, he was labelled a traitor.
Snowden was a computer professional who took it upon himself to leak classified information from NSA computer servers. He believed the public had a right to know certain surveillance information and took no steps to have the information released legally.
Tur and Dilanian failed to note that, on the other hand, there are channels to declassify information in a legal manner–a process that routinely occurs. Rather than simply release the memo unilaterally, Nunes garnered the support of fellow Republicans, and the House Intelligence Committee voted earlier this week in favor of releasing the memo to the American public. In response, the Department of Justice has warned that releasing the memo could have security implications. Prior to declassifying and releasing any portion of the four-page document, White House legal and national security experts have been reviewing the document.
The memo is expected to be made public on Friday, according to a senior White House official.