Yesterday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes revealed that he received documents purporting to show that members of President Trump’s transition team, and possibly the president himself, were swept up in intelligence gathering, and that the names of the officials were inappropriately “unmasked.”
Nunes said he was “actually alarmed” by the evidence and that the fact that Trump officials had their identities exposed was very concerning.
Following the explosive news, veteran Watergate journalist Bob Woodward slammed the move by the intelligence community as a “gross violation” to reveal the names of individuals within the Trump administration that were under surveillance.
— Isaac Adler (@IsaacAdlerNY) March 23, 2017
From The Washington Examiner:
During an interview on Fox News, Woodward said that if that information about the unmasking is true, “it is a gross violation.”
He said it isn’t Trump’s assertion, without proof, that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower that is of concern, but rather that intelligence officials named the Americans being discussed in intercepted communications.
“You can learn all kinds of things from diplomats gossiping, because that’s what occurs. Under the rules, and they are pretty strict, it’s called minimization. You don’t name the American person who is being discussed,” Woodward said.
He drove the point home, adding that “under 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.”
Nunes informed the White House of the intelligence he received on Wednesday afternoon, and pledged to reveal more details to the public on Friday. For weeks, the left has mocked President Trump after he accused the Obama administration of monitoring Trump Tower, but Nunes’ report seems to verify the president’s claims.
If Obama officials did violate the law by “unmasking” the names of Trump transition officials, this exposes a great deal of corruption inside the former president’s administration and the permanent bureaucracy. More information needs to come out so that the American people know who exactly “unmasked” the private citizens working on the Trump transition team.
While Woodward said the unmasking would represent a “gross violation” he stopped short of saying such actions would result in criminal charges, likely holding judgement until more information was made available to the public.
If individuals, including the president himself, were unlawfully “unmasked” by the previous administration, any such violation of federal law should be prosecuted to its fullest extent and not allowed to slide. So far, the Trump administration has been reluctant to hold previous officials accountable to the law. Hopefully that changes in the near future.
A democracy can’t function when permanent, anonymous bureaucrats undermine and endanger the people’s elected representatives.
Do you agree with Bob Woodward that the unmasking of Trump officials is a “gross violation?” Share your thoughts below!