House Intel Chairman: Trump’s Communications Possibly Picked Up By ‘Incidental’ Surveillance
By NBC News
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes speaks to reporters during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 22. Win McNamee / Getty Images
by ALI VITALI and KASIE HUNT
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters Wednesday he has seen reports from the U.S. intelligence community that showed communication from members of President Trump's transition team — and possibly from the president himself — were incidentally collected as part of a broader surveillance effort.
The collections were not related to investigations into Russia and its alleged connections to the Trump campaign.
Nunes told reporters the collection appeared to be "normal" and "all legally collected foreign intelligence under" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
He would not identify the source of this material and implied he had seen it independently. He said he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan about the documents Wednesday morning.
It's not clear if he showed the material to the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff. A spokesman for Schiff initially declined to comment.
Nunes also said he was going to the White House tin the afternoon to brief President Trump, a planned visit which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed.
Nunes said he was "alarmed" by the findings.
"I believe it was all done legally. I think it was all obtained legally. The question is was it masked," Nunes told reporters.
Nunes also said he did not share the information with the ranking Democratic member of the intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, before holding the press conference.
Spicer called Nunes' claims a "startling revelation" and lambasted what he saw as the media's "presumptive" tone of negativity toward the administration on the issue.
Earlier this week, Nunes admitted that evidence is so far lacking for the president's claims that former President Barack Obama illegally ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower before the November election. On Monday, FBI Director James Comey, in testimony before Congress Monday, refuted Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped his communications.
"I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey said.