And once again, our President was right.”But here's the thing: Nothing in the Nunes comments indicates that to be so, especially if you hold Trump to his original tweets.
Let's start from the top.“I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition,” Nunes said to open his comments this morning.“Incidental collection” means something very specific.
“You would absolutely expect members of Congress, members of the administration, members of a transition team to be routinely caught up in that surveillance incidentally.”Nunes made other complaints that may be more valid, especially the allegation that members of the transition team were “unmasked,” which is to say they were identified by name in intelligence reports.
“Sometimes you simply need that name to understand that intelligence.”And in fact, according to a statement in response to Nunes from Democratic Rep.
Adam Schiff, who heads up the Intelligence Committee alongside Nunes, it turns out that most of the names in the intercepted communications masked after all.“The Chairman informed me that most of the names in the intercepted communications were in fact masked, but that he could still figure out the probable identity of the parties,” said Schiff. And so much for the implication that what Nunes revealed validates Trump’s claims.
And he expressed frustration that the intel was “widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”Here, though, Nunes is makes the assumption that unmasking a US citizen is inherently pernicious. In fact, it’s only done so when fully understanding that the intelligence depends on knowing that identity.
It’s also not used to unmask that person to a wide audience.“When you consider that all of these reports are written with classified channels, marked with classification designations, intended to be accessed by people with an authorized need to know, the fact that a US person is named in intelligence is not necessarily shocking,” says Doss.