The story behind the Obama administration’s surveillance of Trump Tower, the subsequent “unmasking” of Trump associates picked up by said surveillance, and the peculiar saga of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes got a little stranger on Friday.
First, the New York Times named two White House officials whom they say met with Nunes and gave him the information – information that partially confirmed Trump’s claim that Obama had “wiretapped” his New York offices.
But then Fox News reported that the Times was wrong – that Nunes actually came by the information through an entirely different source. The channel’s Adam Housley said that Nunes had learned of the information’s existence in January, but he’d been unable to get his hands on it. He’d been blocked, in fact, by the intelligence agencies themselves.
“Our sources, who have direct knowledge of what took place, were upset because those two individuals, they say, had nothing to do with the outing of this information,” Housley said. “We’ve learned that the surveillance that led to the unmasking started way before Trump was even the GOP nominee. The person who did the unmasking, I’m told, is very well known – very high up, very senior in the intelligence world and is not in the FBI.
“This,” he reported, “led to other surveillance which led to multiple names being unmasked. Again, these are private citizens in the United States. This had nothing to do with Russia, I’m told, or foreign intelligence of any kind.”
Citing the report in a tweet on Saturday, President Trump said, “If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for U.S.”
Housley said that people within the various intelligence agencies were beginning to speak out because they are “frustrated with the politics” now clouding law enforcement at the highest levels of the U.S. government.
“We’re told that the main issue here is not only the unmasking of the names, but the spreading of names for political purposes that have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with hurting and embarrassing Trump and his team,” said Housley.
Part of this we already know. Obama officials have already said there was an effort to spread some of this intelligence around the various agencies, although they claim it was done for noble purposes.
But this makes it clear that there is still a war going on within these intelligence agencies, and we don’t yet know where the truth ends and the political agenda begins. No matter what, Trump is right. This is very sad for the U.S.