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Democrats blast release of Republican memo on FBI surveillance

The Republican memo released by Congress is displayed on a journalist's computer screen at a newsroom in Washington DC, on February 2, 2018. (Getty images)

Democratic lawmakers in Congress, as well as a few Republicans, have blasted the release of a disputed GOP intelligence memo that alleges the US Department of Justice and FBI abused their surveillance authority in their probe of Donald Trump's presidential election campaign.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, slammed the release of the memo, saying it was "reckless and demonstrates an astonishing disregard for the truth.”

"This will make it far more difficult for the Intelligence Committees to conduct meaningful, bipartisan oversight of intelligence activities in the future," he said in a statement.

Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, said "the intelligence community opposes this. Even many Republicans oppose this.”

“This is dangerous territory, it disrespects law enforcement, and it's an alarming partisan attack on efforts to investigate hostile foreign interference in our democracy," he wrote in a Twitter message.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democratic form New Hampshire, also criticized the release of the memo, echoing that it's "dangerous.”

The FBI, the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency, operates under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department.

The four-page memo, written by Republican members of the House of Representatives, accuses the two organizations of spying on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.

It criticizes information law enforcement officials used to obtain a warrant to wiretap Page, naming the senior FBI and Justice Department officials who approved the warrant.

The memo said its findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain Justice Department and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court),” which authorizes surveillance of individuals believed to be agents of foreign powers.

Republicans say it provides evidence that the Justice Department actively sought to undermine Trump and help the election campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Former FBI director James Comey slams memo

Former FBI director James Comey blasted the memo as “dishonest” and “misleading,” saying it “inexcusably exposed” classified investigations.

The fired-FBI director didn’t seem to be impressed with the long-awaited memo’s contents. “That’s it?” Comey tweeted. “Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community.”

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