The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Re: DOJ Review of Intelligence Activities
Dear Chairman Nadler:
This letter responds to your request for information relating to a review currently being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice (Department) into certain activities involving the campaigns in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and certain related matters (Review). The Review is broad in scope and multifaceted, and is intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.
It is now well established that, in 2016, the U.S. government and others undertook certain intelligence-gathering and investigative step directed at persons associated with the Trump Campaign. As the Attorney General has stated publicly at congressional hearings and elsewhere there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counter-intelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation. The purpose of the Review is to more fully understand the efficacy and propriety of those steps and to answer, to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, those open questions. Among other things, the Review will seek to determine whether the investigations complied with applicable policies and laws. Accordingly, the Attorney General has directed that a team (Review Team) led by John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, conduct the Review in order to better understand the activities leading up to and relating to the counter-intelligence investigation.
On May 24, 2019, the President issued a memorandum concerning the Review, which directed that “[t]he heads of elements of the intelligence community…and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.” As the Attorney General has stated publicly, he has consulted and is working in close coordination with other members of the U.S. intelligence community in conducting the Review. The Review is thus a collaborative, ongoing effort between the Department’s Review Team and the intelligence community as well as certain foreign actors.
In furtherance of the Review, and to ensure that it proceeds in an efficient and effective manner, the Review Team has requested that certain intelligence community agencies: (1) preserve all relevant records, (2) ensure the availability of witnesses that may be pertinent to the Review, and (3) begin identifying and assembling materials that may be relevant to the Review, consistent with the President’s memorandum and federal law. These requests inevitably relate to sensitive information in the possession of the intelligence community. While the Attorney General has been granted the authority to declassify information in connection with the Review, it is of great importance to the Department to protect classified information in connection with the Review, it is of great importance to the Department to protect classified information by preventing the unwarranted disclosure of sensitive sources, methods, techniques, and materials where such disclosure would endanger the personal safety of U.S. government employees or friendly foreign partners, harm U.S. national security interests, or compromise the ability of U.S. government agencies to conduct their important work to protect the American people. The Attorney General greatly appreciates the work of the women and men serving in the U.S. intelligence community in carrying out their mission, as well as the assistance that our foreign intelligence partners often provide, and has therefore directed the Review Team to work closely with the intelligence community to ensure that national security equities of the U.S. and its foreign intelligence partners are adequately protected in the course of the Review.
During the Review, Mr. Durham will continue to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. The Review is being conducted primarily in the Washington, D.C. area by Mr. Durham and a number of U.S. Attorney’s Office personnel and other Department employees. The Department has made existing office space in Washington available for this work. Mr. Durham’s Review will be funded out of the U.S. Attorneys Salaries and Expenses appropriation.
The Attorney General looks forward to obtaining a better understanding of the critical period leading up to the 2016 presidential election, which to date has not fully been examined. As the U.S. approaches another election season, it would be most prudent to timely draw upon the lessons learned from our recent history, and to apply them responsibly and effectively to protect the interests of the American people, within the bounds of sound judgment and the rule of law. We appreciate your support to that end.
Please do not hesitate to contact this office if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Stephen E. Boyd
Assistant Attorney General
Cc: The Honorable Doug Collins
Read the original letter here.
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