The House Intelligence Committee announced this week that they were asking the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA to provide preliminary information on leaks that may have originated from their agencies. Reps Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff told reporters Wednesday that their committee is hoping to determine which of President Trump’s aides were under surveillance, why they were being watched, and how those aides were ultimately named in media reports.
Nunes, the Republican head of the committee, said he was troubled by the way Michael Flynn was ousted. The content of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador aside, Nunes said it was even more concerning that those talks were tapped and subsequently leaked.
“We know for a fact that incidental collection on General Flynn was picked up,” Nunes said. “I remain concerned that there was additional incidental collection that we are not aware of. If additional names were unmasked, we’re going to have to understand, were proper procedures followed and did official names get leaked to the media?”
By “incidental collection,” Nunes is referring to the official line of logic from the intelligence agencies. This is their excuse for what would otherwise amount to illegal surveillance of a U.S. citizen. They say they were listening in on Ambassador Kislyak…Gen. Flynn just happened to be on the phone during that time. Nunes wants the intelligence community to tell Congress how often this has happened, and specifically how often it has happened with regards to the Trump campaign.
This investigation could have ramifications that go beyond even the Trump controversy. If these committees press hard enough, they could force the nation’s spy agencies to cough up some very interesting information about how, why, and when they might find it legally convenient to spy on American citizens without a proper warrant.
Beyond that, we may also learn how the Flynn call wound up in the hands of the press, which is a matter of paramount concern. Were the intelligence agencies playing politics? Was someone deliberately trying to sabotage the administration? These aren’t secondary questions – this goes to the heart of the left’s Russian conspiracy allegations, and it goes to the heart of Trump’s control over this government.