Devin Nunes Press Briefing on "Wiretapping/Monitoring/Leaking" of Trump Administration Communications
At the 7:00 minute mark, Nunes says,
"Bluntly put, the information I was able to view did not involve Russia, or any discussions with Russians ... None of it has to do with Russia."
Furthermore, Nunes makes it clear that
1) Intelligence agencies were collecting INCIDENTAL information (again, not related to Russia) on communications within the Trump Administration
2) they were "unmasking" this information, which means they were leaving the Trump Administration portions of conversation un-redacted.
This is a crime.
The only reason they should have ever allowed information to be unmasked, if it was collected incidentally, is if the incidental collection revealed a crime to have been committed by the Trump Administration.
The FBI Director, Comey, has already said the only investigation they had concerns with was Russia. So, why were Trump communications left unmasked?
Problem here is, it is probably somewhat complicated for general public to understand. Therefore, the Democrats maybe be able to drown this crime in a haze of obfuscatory blather.
Bullet points from Ace of Spades:
1. "I briefed the president on the concerns I had concerning the incidental collection of data."
2. The reports I was able to see did not have anything to do with the Russian ties investigation.
3. Reporter gets huffy and demands to know why he is briefing the president about this matter, as the reporter thinks Trump is a criminal and should not be told about the Legal Noose tightening around his gangster neck.
4. He answers that the reason is that from what he saw, the surveillance had nothing to do with the Russian investigation.
5. "Brings up a lot of concerns about whether things were properly minimized or not" (minimized = masking/redacting names of US citizens before disseminating)
6. "What I've read bothers me, and it should bother the President himself and his team, because some of it seems inappropiate."
7. "It definitely goes beyond General Flynn." "We don't know how [that name] was picked up [collected, intercepted]."
8. "So far the FBI has not told us if they're going to respond to our March 15th [request for additional information]."
9. "What I've read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don't know if it's right and I don't know if the American people would be comfortable with [it.]"
10. Press continues attempting to Save Obama by focusing relentlessly on whether there was a physical wiretap of physical phone lines.
11. Asked if Obama ordered the surveillance, he says only "we don't know" who was responsible for "the taskings." (Which I take to mean the orders to survey.)
12. Intelligence reports were scattered across "a whole bunch of other agencies"
13. "I was only able to see a few dozen" of the intel reports. Some do have some foreign intelligence value -- implied, some don't.
14. "I think the president is concerned -- and he should be."
15. Again, a reporter digs down on "wiretap," trying to justify the Trump Lies article he's already pre-written in his brain.
16. Asked if he can rule out the possibility that "senior Obama officials were involved in this," he says "No, we cannot."
17. Nunes says that the monitoring is itself less of the issue (he seems to think this was permissible, or could be argued to be permissible), but the unmasking of names in intel reports is what he finds concerning.
18. "Yes," he says, when asked if actual Trump team communications are included in the intelligence reports.
19. Who brought him the information? "Well I can tell you this -- we've been asking people to come forward, and they came through through the proper procedures" (i.e., in comportment with whistleblower statutes, I think he means)
20. He thinks it was legal collection, but then possibly illegal dissemination. I thnk he's also suggesting that given that most of the intercepted communications have no foreign intelligence value, our foreign intelligence collection agencies should not have been typing them up, analyzing them, and then disseminating them -- what our our foreign spy agencies doing spying on US citizens? Or typing up the "incidentally intercepted" conversations of US citizens, if those conversations have no foreign intelligence value? Are they spying on foreign threats -- or against political opponents? Note all those questions are not quotes; they're what I think Nunes is getting at.
21. Was it information monitored in real time, or was it captured, stored, then sifted through later? He says it happened "pretty quickly," i.e., near real time.
22. Press: "Are you attempting to give the president cover for his wiretapping claim?" Of course they ask this. He answers that many documents do not seem to rise to having any foreign intelligence value, which makes him wonder why US citizens were unmasked in the reports.
23. Says he can't get into the issues here too specifically, but suggests people look into the "incidental collection" of data on Congress last year, because that case is similar to this one.