US Spy Agencies May Have Picked Up Donald Trump's Communications: Lawmaker
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 23, 2017,
Mar 23, 2017, 9:26
Devin Nunes - who worked on Trump's transition team and is now leading an investigation into possible links between that campaign team and Russian Federation - said the now president's communications may have been intercepted late a year ago.
"I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition", Nunes told a media conference.
Nunes said the information was incidentally collected amid routine surveillance of foreign targets.
Nunes, who served on Trump's transition team, told reporters on Wednesday afternoon intercepted communication between Trump transition officials, and possibly Trump himself, appears to have been caught up in legal surveillance and then improperly disseminated.
"The chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he can not do both", Schiff said.
He questioned why it was not masked when the surveillance reports had "little or no intelligence value".
Rep. Schiff's answer means that there is a lot more evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation than circumstantial puzzle pieces that hint at collusion but don't directly prove it. Schiff was touching on what the White House and Republicans in Congress are attempting to hide. Nunes said he hoped to have more information on the subject by Friday.
"I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked", he said.
Schiff also noted that claims made by Nunes "do not suggest in any way that the President was wiretapped by his predecessor".
Rep. Louie Gohmert was among the lawmakers spotted at the White House as part of Trump's blitz to turn enough votes to save the plan. Nunes tried to sidestep around this obvious hypocrisy by saying the information was "legally" shared with him, but let's be clear, a leak is a leak.
"The allegations are very serious", Cornyn said, adding that he had heard Nunes' announcement on the news.
"And I'll tell you, NSA is being cooperative", Nunes continued.
"I'm not drawing any conclusion", Nunes said. "I'm just telling the president what exists in the intelligence reports". I think the president is concerned, and he should be.
Republican lawmakers, as well as the administration, have placed a premium on finding out whether USA nationals were "unmasked", or had their identities revealed to officials during the intelligence gathering process.
Incidental collection occurs when a communications intercept aimed at a foreign spy or proxy captures either an American in conversation with that foreign operative or discusses information about an American. The Republican congressman then briefed President Donald Trump on the findings, which he said came from an unidentified source.
Nunes suggested those involved in the surveillance had violated rules requiring that any information on the United States persons involved be masked in intelligence reports.