Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) wrote a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, revealing that numerous top political aides of former President Obama had made hundreds of requests to unmask the names of Trump supporters within the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential elections.
In his letter to Coats, Nunes stated that he had uncovered evidence that indicates that the” former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information” and that it is very likely that they made use of the information to “achieve partisan political purposes.”
“We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information,” Nunes wrote in his letter.
Furthermore, Nunes letter highlighted requests made by several senior government officials that, “made remarkably few individualized justifications for access” to the names of U.S. citizens.
Nunes pointed out that the total sum of requests made under the Obama administration is in the hundreds, with most lacking proper justifications of why the information was requested.
“The committee has learned that one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration,” Nunes wrote. “Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.”
He also talked about how the “Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports.”
Back in March, Nunes had claimed that some of President Trump’s transition messages were intercepted, and that “Donald Trump’s transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under inadvertent surveillance following November’s presidential election,” the Politico noted.
However, the Democrats argued that Nunes needs to decide “whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation” or whether “he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House.”
“The chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both,” Rep. Adam Schiff stated.
“And unfortunately,” he added, “I think the actions of today throw great doubt into the ability of both the chairman and the committee to conduct the investigation the way it ought to be conducted.”
Nunes stood by his ground and argued back that “I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored.”
“It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing,” Nunes stated. The reports included numerous “high-level people in the Trump transition.”