House intelligence committee Chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif., (R) and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, D-Calif., confer during a recess on Capitol Hill on March 20, 2017. Late Wednesday, Schiff accused Nunes of altering an intelligence memo after the committee voted to release it to the public. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The House intelligence committee's ranking Democrat accused the panel's chairman Wednesday night of altering a classified memo about purported FBI surveillance abuses -- saying it's different than the one the committee voted to release to the public.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said panel Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., "made material changes" to the memo after the committee vote and before it was sent to the White House, where President Donald Trump could approve its release in the coming days.
The changes necessitate a new committee vote, said Schiff, who has staunchly opposed the memo's release.
"Because there were material changes made to the document unbeknownst to Committee Members and only revealed to us this evening, two days after the vote, there is no longer a valid basis for the White House to review the altered document, since this new version is not the same document shared with the entire House and on which Committee Members voted," Schiff said in a letter to Nunes.
He added: "It is not imperative that the Committee Majority immediately withdraw the document that it sent to the White House. If the Majority remains intent on releasing the document to the public, despite repeated warnings from DOJ and the FBI, it must hold a new vote to release to the public its modified document."
Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said the memo contained only "minor" grammatical edits and "two edits requested by the FBI and by the Minority themselves."
"The vote to release the memo was absolutely procedurally sound, and in accordance with House and Committee rules," Langer said. "To suggest otherwise is a bizarre distraction from the abuses detailed in the memo, which the public will hopefully soon be able to read for themselves."
In the memo, Nunes alleges the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain a warrant to place surveillance on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser on Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential election. It also says the FBI under President Barack Obama wasn't forthcoming about a "dossier" about Trump funded by Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Schiff's accusation came on the same day the FBI said, in a rare public disclosure, that it has "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy.
"The FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it," the bureau said. "As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."
Trump is said to favor the memo's release.