Devin Nunes's Sources Revealed: Nunes Former General Counsel and a Michael Flynn Protege

Gee. Is anybody else not shocked at this revelation? All the talk surrounding Devin Nunes “revelations” into classified information supposedly being mishandled centered in part on who his sources were.

Well, it’s no wonder he didn’t want to tell other members of the committee who they were. As suspected, his sources were people in the White House.

From The NY Times:

Several current American officials identified the White House officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel’s Office and formerly worked on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

Mr. Cohen-Watnick is a former Defense Intelligence Agency official who was originally brought to the White House by Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser. The officials said that earlier this month, shortly after Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter about being wiretapped on the orders of President Barack Obama, Mr. Cohen-Watnick began reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials.

Officials said the reports consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about how they were trying to develop contacts within Mr. Trump’s family and inner circle in advance of his inauguration.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the intelligence, and to avoid angering Mr. Cohen-Watnick and Mr. Ellis. Officials say that Mr. Cohen-Watnick has been reviewing the reports from his fourth-floor office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where the National Security Counsel is based.

Sounds cozy.

Cohen-Watnick is not just a person brought to the White House by Michael Flynn. He was on his way out at the behest of Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. But Cohen-Watnick got a reprieve when he asked Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner to help out:

On Friday, McMaster told the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, that he would be moved to another position in the organization.

The conversation followed weeks of pressure from career officials at the CIA who had expressed reservations about the 30-year-old intelligence operative and pushed for his ouster.

But Cohen-Watnick appealed McMaster’s decision to two influential allies with whom he had forged a relationship while working on Trump’s transition team — White House advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They brought the matter to Trump on Sunday, and the president agreed that Cohen-Watnick should remain as the NSC’s intelligence director, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.

Michael Ellis didn’t just work on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee. He was the General Counsel for the committee working directly for Devin Nunes.

Maybe it’s just me, but it all seems a tad….coincidental. The guy who had his job saved by Steve Bannon just happened to come across intelligence reports that supposedly showed members of Trump’s transition team being incidentally intercepted during monitored communications? And then it just happened to be Nunes’s former General Counsel that showed Nunes the information?

Here’s the kicker (at least according to the NY Times story): Nobody on Trump’s team was being monitored:

Officials said the reports consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about how they were trying to develop contacts within Mr. Trump’s family and inner circle in advance of his inauguration.

This is not news. Incidental collection includes when a name is mentioned by people being observed.

John Schindler wasn’t impressed (nor surprised):

It’s a mess. And the mess isn’t going to get cleaned up anytime soon.