NSA could provide 'smoking gun' proof Obama admin was spying on Trump by Friday

Fox News’ James Rosen has a significant entry in the ongoing debate over possible surveillance of the Trump team by the Obama administration. It’s a report based on anonymous sources who claim the NSA will provide “smoking gun” proof the last administration was keeping tabs on the current one:


Republican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” establishing that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee this week, a source told Fox News…

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.

The documents that will prove this claim are supposed to be turned over to Rep. Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, Friday. However, it is expected to take several days before all of the information has been carefully looked over. Now with the promise of a “smoking gun” firmly in mind, consider this report from ABC News which was also published this afternoon:

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know “for sure” whether President Donald Trump or members of his transition team were even on the phone calls or other communications now being cited as partial vindication for the president’s wiretapping claims against the Obama administration, according to a spokesperson.

“He said he’ll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure,” a spokesperson for Nunes said Thursday. Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team executive committee.


Some of this isn’t new. Nunes said during the Q&A following his press conference that he wouldn’t receive the details until Friday, so that part of the Fox News story is not news (though the claim it’s a ‘smoking gun’ is):

As for the part about Rep. Nunes not knowing if Trump is specifically mentioned in the communications and also not knowing if they were phone calls or other information, that was reported yesterday as well:

So what is actually new in these dueling reports on the Nunes story? From Fox News, it’s the claim that the material coming tomorrow will be a game changer. And from ABC News, I think the answer might be nothing, except that Nunes is unsure if anyone on the Trump team was incidentally surveilled. That would be at odds with the very first point Nunes made to reporters Wednesday. “So, first, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition,” Nunes said.


If Nunes really wasn’t sure of that yesterday then his statement was misleading. But the ABC News claim seems to be based on a statement from Nunes’ own spokesman and we don’t have a complete record of what was said. All that to say, I wonder about the accuracy of that bit of the report. Maybe the spokesman was referring to Nunes not being sure about Trump being part of the surveillance and the reporter took that to mean anyone on the Trump team?

Nunes should have anticipated the pushback he was going to get to this claim. Given that he knew he wouldn’t have the documents in hand until Friday at the soonest, why didn’t he just wait a couple days?

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
David Strom 10:30 AM | July 23, 2024