Watchdog group calls for investigation of top Democrats on House Intelligence Committee

by WorldTribune Staff, April 17, 2017

Judicial Watch has called for an investigation of two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in the ongoing controversy over surveillance of an incoming administration by U.S. government agencies and officials.

The Washington, D.C. watchdog group named California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Jackie Speier in a letter hand-delivered to the House Office of Congressional Ethics on April 13. The letter said the two appear to have disclosed classified information to the public in violation of House ethics rules.

California Democratic Reps. Jackie Speier and Adam Schiff

“At least two leading Democrats, Reps. Schiff and Speier, on the House Intelligence Committee seem to have improperly disclosed classified information,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“While the Ethics Committee examines Rep. (Devin) Nunes’s innocuous statements on Obama’s surveillance on the Trump team, it ought to expand its investigation to include the other members of the Intelligence Committee who seem to have flagrantly violated the rules.”

Judicial Watch noted that, on March 21, Schiff “spoke to an audience at the Brookings Institute in which he commented on an intelligence community intercept of a December 29, 2016 conversation between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislayak and retired U.S. Army General Michael Flynn. Both the fact of the conversation and the conversation’s contents were leaked to the news media and reported widely.”

In the Brookings speech, Schiff said: “And then you have leaks that expose malfeasance or illegality.  Now, I put that kind of leak, I put the Flynn leak in that category.  And what was most disturbing to me, frankly, about that was:  here you had a situation where the president is informed that his national security adviser . . . has lied to the vice president, and probably others . . . about a conversation with the Russians over sanctions imposed over hacking in the election to help the president.”

An April 3 report by The Daily Caller quotes Speier as commenting publicly on both the contents of the Kislayak-Flynn conversations and Flynn’s subsequent “unmasking” as a U.S. person incidentally intercepted by the intelligence community:

“Now, if in fact, it was unmasked and if it was General Flynn.  You have to understand the context in which it was unmasked. We do know that. Ambassador Kislayak and General Flynn were freelancing sanctions relief at the end of December, when he had no portfolio in which to make any kind of negotiations with Ambassador Kislayak.”

Like Schiff, Speier did not disclose how she knew about the conversation between Kislayak and Flynn or about Flynn’s “unmasking,” but the statement attributed to her also appears to confirm the contents of leaked, classified information, Judicial Watch noted.