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Reader Mike Murphy takes the Today Show's Professor Joe Siracusa to task on the FISA memo

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Mike Murphy has been a great mate of this website and the work we do here.

He comes from a finance and audit background - and he's a fastidious stickler for accuracy and facts.

Earlier today Professor Joe Siracusa from Melbourne's RMIT appeared on the Today program on Channel 9.

Mike's note to the professor below needs no further explanation.

We'll let you know if Mike receives a reply - and please go to Bret Baier's interview with the Chairman of the House Committee at the bottom of this post for a real insight into the memo - from a player, not a commentator.


Professor Siracusa,


I saw your appearance on the Today Show on Channel 9 this morning where you were interviewed about the House Intelligence Committee memo.

You referred to the memo as the "leaked memo" and you even emphasised it.


Lets shuffle onto Donald Trump because we don't talk about him enough, Joe. Republican allies have released a controversial memo accusing the FBI of abuse of power in its investigation of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Joe. I'm not sure, correct me if I'm wrong here, I'm not sure that the memo reveals much, but it's more of the fact that the memo has been leaked, right, that's the bigger problem here.


Yeah. The fact that the memo has been leaked suggests that Trump is at war with his own Department of Justice and intelligence services. Now the memo was a bit of a fizzer but on the other as Trump said today in The Associated Press, he regards that memo, that leaked memo, as justification for going to war with um ahh his special counsel. I mean. He might even use that as a pretext to get rid of the counsel or the guy that appointed him, Rosenstein, so ahh it’s possible he will go that way.

My understanding about the release of that document is that it's release was approved by the US Congress, it was declassified and then approved by The President in accordance with long established procedure.

How could its release possibly be regarded as a leak as both you and your interviewer characterised it?

Watching that segment and knowing the actual process followed for the release one could be forgiven for thinking that viewers not in that position were being deliberately misled into thinking that the release was somehow inappropriate or worse still unauthorised and illegal.

You are invited on that show as an expert providing commentary on current US events to inform Australians about what is  going on in the USA. If you are the expert you are purported to be, you had to know how that memo was released and that it was not a leak.

You further went on to state that the contents were a "fizzer". The only specific reference you made to the contents of the memo was the drunken Downer discussion with Papadopolous which led to the Russian probe.

You didn't point out that the context of that reference was that the fact that the information was all hearsay - I heard someone who told me they heard someone tell somebody something. This was a segue into a shallow discussion of the forthcoming Trump/Turnbull meeting.

You made no mention of the facts contained in the memo regarding the origin of the Russia dossier and how it was used to procure a FISA warrant to spy on a opposition presidential candidate and subsequently a president elect.

This was an interview that misled and confused viewers as to what was actually occurring and the implications or possible implications. To fail to discuss the possible implications was a gross omission and does a serious disservice to people watching.

If there was nothing in the memo and it is a fizzer could you give me a blow by blow critique of the memo showing its inaccuracies and errors?


Mike Murphy


Joseph M. Siracusa is Professor of Human Security and International Diplomacy in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.
Position: Professor
College / Portfolio: Design and Social Context
School / Department: Global, Urban and Social Studies
Campus: Melbourne City Campus
Contact me about: Research supervision


Now here's a real interview with someone who knows what he's talking about.