Devin Nunes is a hero for fighting the FBI, NSA and CIA stonewalling of Obama unmasking abuse probe

June 2, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) for insisting that the FBI, NSA and CIA provide all unmaskings that occurred by the outgoing Obama administration throughout 2016 all the way through Jan. 20, 2017, which he said on the John Batchelor Program on June 1 were “We’ve been waiting since March 15 for that information. The intelligence agencies have been slow-rolling this, which is what led to these three subpoenas being issued to the appropriate agencies” against former CIA Director John Brennan, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power:

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is a hero and has absolutely done the right think in demanding that the FBI, NSA and CIA turn over all unmaskings that occurred by intelligence agencies in 2016 leading up to inauguration. There is no question his committee has an absolute right to that information, and to provide oversight to ensure that those powers were not abused in a safe, classified setting. These agencies’ refusal to comply with this request more than justifies the subpoenas that have now been issued.

“So far, these investigations appear to have not turned up evidence of Russia even hacking the DNC or John Podesta and posting emails on Wikileaks, let alone any collusion by Russian agents and the Trump campaign, leading to the question of just why it was that such a heavy-handed investigation was occurring. As Nunes stated in the interview, ‘at some point here, the Democrats are going to have to start to pull Russians out of their hats, because I can’t find them.’ It is up to Nunes and the House and Senate committees of oversight to find out what happened, and to see if these surveillance powers were abused, as they appear to have been.

“Because, if these intelligence agencies refuse to be subjected to oversight when there is a real question about their surveillance powers being used by an administration against the opposition political party in a presidential election year, then under no circumstances should Congress reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. If you have ever had concern for civil liberties — left, right or middle — you need to listen to what Chairman Nunes is saying here. These abuses are chilling and they have to stop.”


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, the John Batchler Program, June 1, 2017 at

NUNES: “Every American is masked. All of the intelligence agencies are bound by law to mask all American citizens that get picked up in foreign collection. What has to happen then if you want to find out who that American is, there’s a process and procedure in place for that, it’s actually very uncommon in most cases and seldom happens.

“But the concern that I have had that I expressed publicly – quite publicly, actually – a couple of months ago was that it became excessive, that Obama administration officials were unmasking people in the Trump transition and it made me quite uncomfortable. We requested that we see all unmaskings that were done for the past year. We’ve been waiting since March 15 for that information. The intelligence agencies have been slow-rolling this, which is what led to these three subpoenas being issued to the appropriate agencies…

“[T]hose three individuals [John Brennan, Susan Rice and Samantha Power] that we named are ones that we have a particular interest in, but I can say that those are not the only ones that we have an interest in, but look, we want to work with the intelligence agencies. We didn’t want to have to subpoena them, but the process was moving way too slowly, so we picked these three individuals who we have a particular interest in and hopefully they are expedient. They have until next week [June 7] to give us the unmaskings that these three individuals have. I think they know now that we are serious…

“The big problem here is that the people that run these programs are protecting the United States, they’re protecting U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks, from other adversaries that we have around the globe, and we have to protect the American citizens from being picked up in these types of foreign intelligence collection. However, what clearly has happened here, at a minimum, I don’t know that it’s illegal, but it’s clearly an abuse of power that senior Obama administration would unmask someone, but also, what is illegal and I can’t say that it was the Obama administration officials who did this but we know that names were unmasked in intelligence products and if you believe the Washington Post and the New York Times and NBC News, you know that names were unmasked and intelligence was leaked and Americans were picked up in intelligence products were leaked out to the media… which is, what? A crime. It’s a crime to do that.

“So, we’re trying to get to the bottom of these crimes if in fact they were committed and to date, it’s the only crimes that we know have been committed and all this other Russia collusion stuff, you know, I keep looking for Russians, I know yesterday Hillary Clinton said that a thousand Russians [helped Trump]… She said that intelligence sources had told her that, that was news to me. You know, at some point here, the Democrats are going to have to start to pull Russians out of their hats, because I can’t find them. So if there’s a thousand Russian agents that were helping Donald Trump, I’d like to know who they are so that I can rush those down to the Department of Justice… but we don’t have that yet. But what I do know is that stories have been leaked to the newspapers that involve American citizens who were supposedly picked up in intelligence and unmasked and leaked to the press, that’s what I know, that would be a crime…

“I think it would be very unusual for any ambassador under any circumstance at any level to unmask names of American citizens no matter where they were serving, whether at the UN or in the UK or in Germany or China. I think it would be very unusual for an ambassador to request an unmasking so I’m not going to get into what I know at this point but I can tell you that we would not be asking this if we didn’t have probable cause to suspect that there was an abuse of power here…

“We will see whether or not the FBI produces the unmaskings that were done by these three individuals. If the FBI continues to not provide the information to Congress, or the NSA or the CIA, for that matter – look the bottom line is that these programs are really important to protecting the American people and everybody that works in the intelligence agencies, you know that they want to protect the American people, but I will tell you that these programs are in jeopardy.

“Right now, there’s no possible way we could reauthorize the foreign intelligence programs, we wouldn’t have the votes today. I mean, Democrats don’t typically give us the votes, and I can tell you that most of my Republican colleagues wouldn’t give us the votes to extend these programs. So at the end of the day, America will be left… less safe, because people expect the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to be able to inspect and provide oversight over names that senior administration officials unmask. If they unmask American citizens, people expect the Congress to know who they were unmasking…

“This is only the beginning, there are many more officials that we have concerns about abusing the intelligence programs.”

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