I was traveling Friday when the memo about the FISA application to surveil Carter Page, supported by the Fusion GPS-produced Clinton-funded Steele Dossier, was released.

It was one of those days when being mostly off the grid was a good thing. I was only able to follow the Twitter reaction, and take a quick glimpse on my phone at the memo itself. So I mostly sat back and watched the fireworks.

Others have done fine jobs discussing the important details of what was revealed by the memo.

As I have read the various takes on each side, I’m left with three big impressions:

1. Carter Page Was The Excuse, Not The Reason.

That a FISA warrant was issued as to Carter Page was reported last spring. So that wasn’t a surprise, but the surprise is that anyone actually cared about Carter Page. Have you seen the guy on TV? He’s on TV almost as much as Adam Schiff, and they both come across as doofuses. Carter Page was so important the FBI went out on a limb to use a questionable document in court to convince a judge to surveil him? I’m not buying it.

That Carter Page was not the real subject of the surveillance was revealed by the hyperventilated attempts to keep the memo from being released based on claims it would reveal critical sources and methods and damage national security. Now that we’ve seen the memo, we know that those protestations were false.

The surveillance of Carter Page was not about Carter Page. He’s a bit player in a larger drama, and that larger drama is what we need to understand.

2. Fear of Our Own Intelligence Agencies has been Normalized.

I’m struck by how readily Democrats and some Republicans have accepted that we should live in fear of our nation’s own law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That seems baked into every discussion, exemplified by Chuck Schumer’s statement in January 2017 that the intelligence agencies will get back at Trump for his criticisms:

That implicit threat was repeated dramatically by CNN Analyst Phil Mudd, a former FBI and CIA agent:

“The workforce will look at this and say this is an attack on our ability to conduct an investigation with integrity,” he exclaimed during a CNN panel discussion. “There are hundreds of agents and analysts working. This not just Christopher Wray, the FBI director.”

He continued, “So I’m going to tell you the FBI people are ticked. If you think you can push us off this because you can intimidate the director, you’d better think again. You’ve been around for 13 months. We’ve been around since 1908. I know how this game is going to be played. We’re going to win.”

3. Media Complicity – How Far Does It Go?

A key part of the memo was that the FBI utilized a Yahoo News report to back up the Steele Dossier. But the Yahoo News report information was fed to it by Fusion GPS. So it was completely circular buttressing, as both documents had the same source.

This raises a bigger question. How much of the media reporting has been fed by Fusion GPS? Has the media’s Russia conspiracy narrative been just another charade orchestrated by Clinton financed operatives? Is it any wonder that so much of the mainstream media argued against releasing the memo; this may be the most blatant example of media lack of curiosity being a telltale sign of a larger problem.

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What’s at stake here is not whether the FISA warrant was properly obtained. That’s a detail. What’s at stake is whether, as many suspect, there was something more nefarious going on. That truth, whatever it is, needs to be obtained notwithstanding fear of retribution by our own intelligence services. And we can’t rely on the media to get to that truth.