It turns out Donald Trump wasn’t wrong when he claimed that somebody was keeping an eye on him and his transition team.
Though Trump claimed to have been spied on with wiretaps, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) says he’s received new information that Trump and members of his transition team had their “data collected” and then those who were involved were “unmasked” and the information “widely disseminated."
He told reporters today that information from “sources” didn’t reveal how that “legal” and “incidental” data was collected.
In a hurried news conference, Nunes was asked if the Trump team had been “spied on” to which the intel chairman responded:
“I have a concern.”
Clearly shaken, Chairman Nunes told reporters that he got the additional information after he made an appeal at the hearing this week involving FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers for people to come forward and offer more information, if there was any.
Nunes says “sources” brought forward “dozens” of “reports" and other documents of the incidental communications of the Trump transition team in November, December and January — after the election.
Nunes stated categorically that none of the information in the “dozens” of documents he saw had anything to do with Russia or any criminal investigation.
Nunes says he now wants to know a few more details which he outlined for reporters:
- Why wasn’t this information disclosed in the hearing this week?
- Who requested the unmasking of those involved?
- Who directed it?
- Who directed this?
- Were any laws broken?
Nunes said the NSA was chasing down some of the information brought up by the new disclosures but, ominously, said he didn’t know if the FBI director would help him:
“We don’t know yet if the FBI is going to comply.”
Intelligence reports are legally supposed to “mask” the identities of U.S. citizens if they’re incidentally picked up in surveillance during an investigation. General Mike Flynn’s identity was illegally disclosed, apparently by intelligence sources, and he was later fired from the Trump team.
Nunes said the disclosures of the names of U.S. citizens in this latest information left him “alarmed”:
“I’m actually alarmed by it.”
He told reporters he already briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan on the information and was going to the White House Wednesday night to talk to President Trump about it.
House Intelligence Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Schiff, (D-CA) told reporters in a Wednesday afternoon press conference that he would have preferred that Nunes present the intel to their full committee before telling the media about it.
“This is not how you conduct an investigation,” Schiff said.