Memo raises important issues

Americans’ constitutional right to privacy needs to be protected

Not long ago, a memorandum written by Republicans on the House of Representatives intelligence committee created waves in Washington. President Donald Trump insists it exonerates him and his campaign staff of claims they cooperated with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.

It does no such thing. But what the memo does accomplish is to raise red flags among Americans concerned about our constitutional right to privacy.

Perhaps the biggest revelation in the memo is that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court judge was not given full information regarding a warrant sought by the FBI and Department of Justice. They wanted the judge to renew a warrant allowing them to spy on Carter Page, who had been a volunteer in Trump’s campaign. Some facts in the situation were concealed from the judge.

Now, Democrats on the intelligence panel want to release their own memo. They say it contradicts some of the GOP document. Trump must decide whether to release the Democrat version or withhold some or all of it for national security reasons.

Unless some absolutely vital national security issue exists, Trump should release the entire memo. The subject matter — whether the FBI and Justice Department are abusing authorization to spy on Americans — is too critical to do otherwise.