Author of controversial ‘Nunes memo’ joining National Security Council
A congressional aide who was key in crafting the controversial Republican House Intelligence Committee memo that accused FBI and Justice Department officials of abusing their surveillance authority is set to join the National Security Council, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Kashyap Patel, a senior staffer for Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, has been hired to join the NSC’s International Organizations and Alliances directorate. A Trump administration official said Patel is expected to report to work at the White House on Monday.
A spokesman for the National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his new position, the hard-charging aide will help craft policy involving the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and other international organizations, of which national security adviser John Bolton — the former US ambassador to the United Nations — has long been critical. He will be reporting to another controversial aide, Erin Walsh, who joined the NSC as a senior director in December just months after she was reportedly escorted out from the Commerce Department, where she held a high-ranking post.
As a senior aide under then-Chairman Devin Nunes of California — now the ranking member of the committee — Patel was one of the aides who put together the “Nunes memo,” the controversial four-page document that alleged the FBI and Justice Department had abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law (FISA) obtaining a warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The committee took the unprecedented step of voting to declassify information from the classified FISA warrant in the memo, which accused the FBI of concealing the fact that the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia was funded by Democrats. Despite objections from the FBI, Trump approved its release.
Democrats responded with a memo of their own that pushed back against the Republican charges, and the episode exacerbated the tensions on the committee that were already heated over the Russia investigation.
Patel was also one of two Republican staffers on the committee who was dispatched to London in 2017 to try to make contact with the lawyers for dossier author Christopher Steele, without alerting the committee’s Democrats. Before joining the House Intelligence Committee in 2017, Patel was a lawyer working on counterterrorism cases in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, said that Patel was a “hard-working, brilliant and crucial member of the Intel Committee team, and was the target of more fake news stories than any staffer I know.”