A reported “smoking gun” pertaining to the alleged surveillance of Donald Trump and his transition team by the Obama administration is creating a massive amount of buzz on social media.
House intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was handed information late Wednesday indicating that intelligence reports “unmasked” members of the Trump transition team in the months of November, 2016 through January.
The reports disclosed intelligence of surveillance targets, probably foreign nationals, either talking with or talking about members of the Trump team. In those instances, protocol requires that reports keep the names of U.S. citizens secret by substituting “American A, B, C” or something similar.
That procedure was not followed in these instances. Fox News correspondent James Rosen confirmed, and widened Nunes’ findings through his own sources.
Rosen reported that Republican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” to come from the House Intelligence Committee this week that will establish “that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself,” a source told Fox News.
Rosen also reported:
The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretapped him in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.
The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources.The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration.
“Those reports are concerning to me,” Nunes told Fox News host Sean Hannity Thursday, adding that after receiving them, he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan, members of the media and President Donald Trump.
“To me, it’s clear that I would be concerned if I was the president,” the California Republican added.
Clip via Fox News Channel
After Trump was briefed, he said he felt “somewhat” vindicated.
Nunes added, “We need to find out who requested that unmasking, and why … because it should be pretty rare that American names are unmasked.”
That brought up the name of an early Trump cabinet member.
“In the case of [former National Security Advisor] General Flynn, not only did an unmasking take place, but also an intelligence leak,” Hannity observed, which would be a violation of the Espionage Act, a felony.
“We won’t know until we get all the details,” Nunes cautioned. “But … it appears that that was a crime.”
Another possible sticking point was that two weeks before Trump’s inauguration, President Barack Obama gave the National Security Agency broader authority to share the worldwide signal information it collects among 16 other agencies.
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Rosen’s report sent Twitter buzzing Thursday night while “smoking gun” trended into the morning:
Smoking Gun – Let's turn the tables on these people who have been trying to undermine everything this administration does from day one!
— James M. Cain (@dmcparson) March 24, 2017
— Col. Ben Bannister (@ColBannister) March 24, 2017
And there were plenty of naysayers:
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