In a stunning announcement Wednesday morning, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes revealed to President Donald Trump and the media that he had come across intelligence reports which indicated that members of Trump’s transition team had been caught up in “incidental” foreign surveillance and had their identities “unmasked,” potentially in violation of the law.
In an appearance on Fox News with host Bill O’Reilly, journalist Bob Woodward remarked that the naming of Trump transition team members in the intelligence reports likely constituted a “gross violation” of a law specifically designed to keep under wraps the names of U.S. citizens caught in foreign surveillance operations.
“It is not what Trump said (about the wiretap), but apparently what has happened here is a couple of diplomats who can be legitimately wiretapped, were talking about meeting with Trump or people on his transition team — and of course you can learn all kinds of things from diplomats gossiping, because that is what occurs,” Woodward said, according to Real Clear Politics.
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“Under the rules — and they’re pretty strict — you are supposed to, it is called minimization, you don’t name the American person who is being discussed,” he continued.
“But the idea that there was intelligence value here is really thin,” Woodward said, according to the Washington Examiner. “It’s, again, down the middle, it is not what Trump said, but this could be criminal on the part of people who decided, ‘Oh, let’s name these people’.”
Woodward added that, “(U)nder the rules, that name is supposed to be blanked out, and so you’ve got a real serious problem potentially of people in the Obama administration passing around this highly classified gossip.”
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The legendary Washington Post reporter is no fan of President Trump, but even he can see past his personal opinion on the matter and realize that it certainly appears as though some members of former President Barack Obama’s administration violated the law by “unmasking” the identities of Trump team members.
Hopefully it will eventually be determined exactly who decided to expose Trump’s associates as part of the effort to undermine his incoming administration and hamstring him with scandal. Once those violators are revealed, they should be held to account for their criminal actions.
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