Sometimes you just can’t believe your eyes.
This is excerpted from Matthew Rosenberg, Maggie Haberman and Adam Goldman’s article in today’s New York Times:
A pair of White House officials played a role in providing Representative Devin Nunes of California, a Republican and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, with the intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.
The revelation that White House officials assisted in the disclosure of the intelligence reports — which Mr. Nunes then discussed with President Trump — is likely to fuel criticism that the intelligence chairman has been too eager to do the bidding of the Trump administration while his committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia’s meddling in the last presidential election.
Mr. Nunes has also been faulted by his congressional colleagues for sharing the information with President Trump before consulting with other members of the intelligence committee.
Mr. Nunes has acknowledged that the incidental intelligence gathering on Trump associates last year was not necessarily unlawful. American intelligence agencies typically monitor foreign officials of allied and hostile countries, and they routinely sweep up communications linked to Americans who may be taking part in the conversation or are being spoken about.
The real issue, Mr. Nunes has said, was that he could figure out the identities of Trump associates from reading reports about intercepted communications that were shared among Obama administration officials with top security clearances. He said some Trump associates were also identified by name in the reports. Normally, intelligence agencies mask the identities of American citizens who are incidentally present in intercepted communications.
The article goes on to name the two White House officials. But if you want their names, you’ll have to use the link I’ve provided because my purpose in writing this blog is not to “out” them as the Times did.
My purpose in writing is to point out that this article, whether The Times realizes it or not, substantiates Donald Trump’s claims that his offices were tapped.
Maybe Mr. Rosenberg, Ms. Haberman, Mr. Goldman and the other folks at The Times think that by using this information to attack Rep. Nunes instead of noting that it both edifies Mr. Trump’s claims about being wiretapped, and directly implicates the Obama administration in illegal usage of the “incidental” information it got hold of, readers won’t notice.
Well, some probably won’t. And some will, but will ignore it (read a sampling of the letters to the editor on this article, and you’ll see what I mean).
But, in here, neither is happening. And I hope it isn’t happening at your end as well.
One other thing. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: anyone who thinks that a Chicago machine politician like Barack Obama, or the people around him, got this information only through “incidental” means – i.e. they didn’t know damn well that tapping in to the people elsewhere in the building would be giving them the Trump material as well – is living in a dream world.