Even as the House Speaker and top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday they’ve yet to see any evidence that Trump Tower was targeted for surveillance by intelligence agencies during the Obama administration, House Intelligence Committee leaders want to know if any “unmasking” of American citizens caught up in surveillance operations took place during Obama’s final year in office.
As reported by CNN, specifically, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in investigating President Donald J. Trump’s earlier claims that he was “wiretapped” at Trump Tower by the Obama administration, want to know if any Americans were improperly exposed during the former president’s final seven months.
In a letter to the three leaders of the Intelligence Community, the lawmakers voiced concerns that members of intel agencies had not been upholding prior established “robust ‘minimization procedures’” that protected the identities of American citizens, which included “masking” their names, CNN reported. (RELATED: Memo to McCain: Of course Trump Tower was under surveillance; what did Obama know and when did he know it should be your question.)
The letter also mentions the disclosure – via a Deep State leak – of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who had a number of conversations with Russia’s top diplomat in the United States.
CNN noted further:
The matter is relevant not only because of the House Intelligence Committee’s responsibility to conduct oversight of the intelligence community, but also as it may relate to surveillance of Russians known to U.S. intelligence or any others who may have spoken with any advisers or individuals around then-candidate Donald Trump.
Nunes and Schiff asked the intelligence community leaders to disclose any “unmasked” identities that were disseminated throughout the intelligence community, law enforcement, or among senior Obama administration officials from June 2016 until January 2017 that relate to Trump or Hillary Clinton and their associates.
Intelligence experts note that if Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was under surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies – which is fairly standard practice – then Flynn or any other Americans who spoke with him should have been identified as “American Citizen 1” or something similarly generic.
“However, as recent news stories seem to illustrate, individuals talking to the media would appear to have wantonly disregarded these procedures,” the lawmakers wrote. In addition, they are seeking names of people and/or agencies who “requested and/or authorized the unmasking and dissemination” of said individuals.
The letter was addressed to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, FBI Director James Comey; Acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey was also sent the letter.
Earlier reports mentioned Flynn by name, something that is not supposed to happen unless he himself was under investigation by U.S. intelligence. And for him to have been under direct surveillance, two things would have had to have happened: 1) He was suspected of being a foreign agent, which is folly; and 2) there would be a paper trail in the form of a warrant issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court. Officials arguing before the secretive court would have had to show strong cause to believe that of Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
In other words, Flynn had been thoroughly vetted by the very intelligence community he served; if he was suspected of being a foreign agent, there would be a paper trail leading back to a formal inquiry. (RELATED: McCain Challenges Trump To Prove Obama Wiretapped Him… Even Though There’s Clear Evidence He Did.)
But we know there wasn’t a “formal” investigation of Flynn – or anyone on Team Trump, including the president, right? Because that’s what former DNI James Clapper told NBC News just recently.
Or was there?
Investigative reporters Sara Carter and John Solomon, writing at Circa News, say the FBI certainly did obtain a FISA warrant to conduct electronic surveillance (old version: wiretap) of an Internet server at Trump Tower as part of an investigation into illicit Russian activity, though nothing was found – no evidence to suspect Trump-Russia ties.
Louise Mensch at Heat Street reported the same thing – the FBI got a FISA warrant to conduct electronic surveillance at Trump Tower.
Who’s telling the truth? Who’s lying? And where did all of those prior leaks come from, before Trump even took office, claiming Russian collusion? Keep up with the latest developments on this, and other related stories at Conservative.news.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.