by WorldTribune Staff, March 24, 2017
Newly disclosed intelligence reports indicate the Obama administration used the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President Donald Trump and his transition team and improperly unmasked the identity of Americans swept up in the spying.
“What I’ve read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don’t know that it’s right and I don’t know if the American people would be comfortable with what I’ve read,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Nunes said several dozen intelligence reports include transcripts of communications, including communications directly from Trump. The reports were based on a foreign electronic spying operation between November and January.
They were revealed by an intelligence community insider who alerted Nunes, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
After reading the reports, Nunes told CNN he was confident the Obama White House and numerous agencies “had a pretty good idea of what President-elect Trump was up to and what his transition team was up to and who they were meeting with.”
The reports uncovered by Nunes contradict public testimony on March 20 by FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.
Comey and Rogers said during an intelligence committee hearing that they had no information to support Trump’s claims in a series of tweets that he had been placed under surveillance by former President Barack Obama.
Nunes announced the intel committee will investigate who knew about the classified reports, why they were not disclosed to Congress, and who requested and authorized the disclosure of the Americans’ identities in the reports.
The committee also will try to find out whether the intelligence community was ordered to spy on Trump associates and if laws or regulations were violated.
“This is information that was brought to me that I thought the president needed to know about incidental collection, where the president himself and others in the Trump transition team were clearly put into intelligence reports that ended up at this White House and across a whole bunch of other agencies,” Nunes said after meeting with Trump on March 22.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the intel committee, blasted Nunes for not coming first to the committee with the information.
“If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been,” Schiff said in a statement on March 22.