A Friday breaking Fox News report on surveillance of President Trump’s team that began before he became the Republican presidential nominee claimed a very senior intelligence official was responsible—as well as for the unmasking of the names of private U.S. citizens.
The report cited sources which also indicated that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) knew of the existence of the information in January, but one or more intelligence agencies blocked him, and there were only two locations where he could view the information that he called “very troubling.”
On Thursday, the New York Times began reporting what they claimed were the identities of two White House officials who were the sources of the information disclosed to Nunes.
Nunes met with sources on White House grounds on the day before he announced to reporters striking news that he had seen new and disturbing information indicating intelligence officials under the Obama administration “unmasked” the names of Trump team members who were incidentally surveilled.
On Saturday President Donald Trump tweeted:
Donald J. Trump
Wow, @FoxNews just reporting big news. Source: “Official behind unmasking is high up. Known Intel official is responsible. Some unmasked….
- 12,67612,676 Retweets
Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
..not associated with Russia. Trump team spied on before he was nominated.” If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for U.S.
- 12,17612,176 Retweets
- 46,84946,849 likes
The Friday Fox News report cited “a number of sources” with claims that not only were the two White House officials not the sources of the information shared with Nunes, but that Nunes knew of the information in January, and that the agencies where the information came from had blocked Nunes from gaining access to it. Further, the report cited officials within the agencies who said they were frustrated with the spreading of names for political purposes.
“Our sources, who have direct knowledge of what took place, were upset because those two individuals, they say, had nothing to do with the outing of this information,” Fox reported.
“We’ve learned that the surveillance that led to the unmasking of what started way before President Trump was even the GOP nominee,” reported Adam Housley. “The person who did the unmasking, I’m told, is very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world and is not in the FBI.”
“This led to other surveillance which led to multiple names being unmasked. Again these are private citizens in the United States,” said Housley. “This had nothing to do with Russia, I’m told, or foreign intelligence of any kind.”
The two named in Thursday’s reports as the sources of the information in those stories were not Nunes sources. “It was a navigation situation and the reason why they had to navigate, I’m told, is that Nunes learned about this unmasking and who this was, taking place back in January.”
“It took, obviously, a number of weeks to try to figure out a way for him to see this intelligence, because the agencies were stonewalling, we’re told, to allow him and others to see it,” said Housley. “This is all coming from folks that are in these agencies and frustrated with the politics that is taking place in these agencies.”
“We’re told that the main issue here is not only the unmasking of the names, but the spreading of names for political purposes that have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with hurting and embarrassing Trump and his team,” reported Housley.
“Fox also learned that an individual with direct knowledge that after Nunes had been approached by his source, the agencies basically would not allow him in at all,” said Housley.
Nunes and the White House have faced heated questions from the press about Nunes’s viewing of the information on White House grounds; however, the Fox report added that there were only two places where Nunes could have viewed the information. One was at the agencies where the information came from, which the reporting notes would have put the source at risk, and the other location was on the 18-acre White House grounds. Housley noted that the Old Executive Office Building is on White House grounds. He also specified where information after hours and where highly sensitive information may be accessed.