House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes said Wednesday that sources have revealed to him that the intelligence community “incidentally collected” information on President Donald Trump’s transition team unrelated to any investigation of Russian-meddling in the 2016 election during November, December, and January.
In a brief press conference, the California Republican said the collection occurred on “numerous occassions.”
“Details about US persons associated with the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting,” Nunes said.
The congressman added: “Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked. Fourth, and finally, I want to make clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia, or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”
Nunes told reporters he believed the information was collected legally under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He said he did not know if the surveillance consisted of phone calls, but that the intelligence reports he’s seen “clearly show” Trump and his team were “monitored.”
Nunes said the White House was unaware of the the information he was providing to the media, adding he was set to go over the meet with administration officials to discuss the matter later on Wednesday. Additionally, he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan on what he revealed.
“I’m actually alarmed by it,” Nunes said, later adding he could not confirm whether his revelation meant Trump was “spied on.”
Nunes, who was a member of the Trump transition team himself, is chairing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s effort to manipulate the 2016 US presidential election.
During a Monday hearing, FBI Director James Comey told the committee that the bureau was investigating potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russia government since late July. Comey also said the Department of Justice could provide no evidence to back up Trump’s explosive Twitter claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped by President Barack Obama.
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