It turns out that the House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) who has been acting like he is part of a play based on a conspiracy theory with lots of drama and intrigue to where he uncovers or develops some intelligence as in the form of a 4 page memo, so that he can come to the rescue of his hero president who is in deep trouble, has not been operating alone. He has staffers who have been very willing to act out their parts in following the lead of their boss, Rep Nunes.
One of the key players is Kash (Kashyap) Patel, in his late 30s who had practiced as a lawyer in Florida, There is a story about him having entered a charity bachelor auction featuring some colleagues but then he had to drop out after a blogger pointed out that his license to practice in Florida was out of date. As per the NY Times, in 2016, as a counter-terrorism prosecutor for the Justice Department, he was berated by a federal judge who then issued an “Order on Ineptitude”directed at the entire agency. There are ample news items showing him to be okay with running afoul of the law or rules.
Here’s the rest of the story…
On January 30, 2018, Natasha Bertrand of the Atlantic penned the following report, “The Men Behind the Nunes Memo.”
“The House Intelligence Committee’s chair wasn’t alone in drafting the classified memo that it just voted to release.”
“Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release a classified memo drafted by the panel’s chairman, Devin Nunes, outlining alleged surveillance abuses carried out by top officials at the Justice Department.”
“The committee’s ranking member, Adam Schiff, called the decision to release the memo “transparently cynical and destructive” in a tweet on Monday night (1/29/18). The Department of Justice’s top congressional liaison, Stephen Boyd, told Nunes in a letter last week that publicly releasing the memo would be “extraordinarily reckless” and urged him to consult with the Department—and, if need be, with its Inspector General—before disclosing it.”
“Nunes has been conducting a parallel investigation into the FBI and the Justice Department since March 2017, when he first began examining whether top officials improperly “unmasked” and then leaked the names of Trump associates who surfaced in intelligence reports during the transition period. Nunes did not write the three-and-a-half-page memo outlining the initial findings of that investigation—which is ongoing—by himself, however.”
“Two sources familiar with the matter told me that much of the heavy lifting was done by Kash Patel, a top Nunes staffer and senior committee counsel. Patel previously attracted media attention by traveling to London late last summer—without the knowledge of the U.S. embassy or British government—along with committee staffer Doug Presley in search of Christopher Steele, author of a controversial dossier on Trump.”
“Boyd’s letter to Nunes referred to the document as “a staff-drafted memorandum that purports to be based on classified source materials that neither you nor most of them have seen.”
“A separate congressional source confirmed that Patel helped write the Nunes memo.”
The committee’s staff director, Damon Nelson, also contributed to the memo, the source told me, adding that Nelson is extremely close to Nunes. Nelson served as Nunes’s deputy chief of staff for 11 years, between 2003 until 2014. A congressional official told The Guardian last August that Nelson was involved in the decision to send Patel and Presley to London. Another former Nunes staffer who now works for the committee, Andrew House, also worked closely with Nelson on the memo, the source added.
The Nunes memo is not Patel’s first foray into the FISA and unmasking controversy that was drummed up by his boss back in March 2017. Patel circulated an internal memo last November urging Nunes to hold top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents related to the Obama administration’s alleged use of the dossier to surveil Trump associates during the transition period, one of the sources told me. That memo was first reported by Fox News in November.
Patel set off for London last summer without first informing Ranking Member Schiff and Republican Representative Mike Conaway, who took over the panel’s Russia probe after Nunes stepped aside last April. The trip was characterized by a committee official at the time as an “intelligence committee trip” whose main purpose was not to meet with Steele, one of the sources told me. Steele’s lawyer denied the staffers’ access to his client.
As per a 8/7/17 Guardian report, 2 US congressional staffers who traveled to London in July and tried to contact former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele were sent by a longstanding aide to Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee and a close ally of the White House.
The two staffers turned up unannounced at Steele’s lawyers’ offices while the former MI6 officer was in the building, according to a report by Politico on Friday.But the committee’s leading Democrat, Adam Schiff, said on Sunday neither he nor his Republican counterpart had been informed about the staffers’ London trip.
A congressional official insisted, however, that the staffers were in London on official committee business. He said they had been told to make contact with Steele’s lawyers, rather than Steele himself.
“Them being sent to meet with the lawyers was at the behest of the committee staff director,” the official added, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Schiff’s office declined to comment, and Conaway’s office did not reply to a request for comment. But Schiff said on Sunday that neither of them had been told about the London visit aimed at establishing contacts with a key witness.
“I wasn’t aware of it, and I don’t think Mr Conaway was either,” Schiff told CNN. “But the reality is we do want to meet with Mr Steele, would like him to come before the committee. If he’s not willing to do that, we’d be happy – Mr Conaway and myself – to go to London to sit down with him. He does have relevant information that would assist our investigation.”
“Steele’s dossier on Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government was compiled in 2016 for a Washington research company, Fusion GPS, and commissioned by Trump’s election opponents, first Republicans in the primaries, and then Democrats.”
“A congressional official insisted it would not be unusual for a committee staff director to organise a foreign fact-finding trip on his own authority.”
“In this specific scenario, I can’t imagine a staff director sending 2 staffers on this trip without the chairman knowing about it,” Blickstein said. “That wouldn’t pass the smell test.”
“I find the fact that they presumably spent taxpayer money to undertake such a hyper-partisan and unprofessional effort extremely troubling,” John Sipher, a former senior CIA officer said in an emailed comment. “There are normal ways to do this through our existing institutions, and their relationships with our British partners. ”
“Republicans that are part of the House investigation should not be undertaking efforts without informing their Democratic colleagues,” Sipher added. “Not only is it unprofessional but it is impolite. Mr Steele was a professional who worked on important and compatible issues with the US. He deserves better than being ambushed by a bunch of hacks.”