After Rep. Devin Nunes held a press conference March 22 stating he’d seen documents showing that members of the Trump transition team had been incidentally surveilled, unmasked, and the information shared “far and wide” in the intelligence community, politicians and pundits have been wondering who the source was, and where he met with them.
Over the weekend, we learned that late Tuesday night Nunes received a communication on his phone while riding in an Uber with a staffer, then quickly exited the car and his whereabouts were unknown for a period of time. Monday it was revealed that the meeting took place at on the White House grounds.
Predictably, Democrats freaked out and accused Nunes of conspiring with Trump. Nunes’ spokesman, Jack Langer, issued a statement saying:
“Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source.
“The chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that the Trump Tower had been wiretapped.”
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, Nunes personally defended the choice of location, saying:
“So, look. We go to the executive branch at least once or twice a week. This is not unusual. Because there are intelligence products that we don’t have access to in the House of Representatives but we do have the clearances to see them.
“I needed a place that I could actually go and find this information and review it. And so we just facilitated…
“I did not go to the West Wing, did not talk to the President.
“And then when I reviewed it, and when I found out that it did not have to do with Russia – okay, that’s the key here, is that it had nothing to do with Russia.”
He reiterated that the committee’s investigation of unmasking began before Trump’s tweet:
“We knew about this long before Trump sent out his famous tweet. we’ve known that there was additional unmasking of American’s names. We had sources that had provided that information.”
Nunes said he does not have possession of the documents. He was only able to view them in this secure facility, so he could not have shared them with Rep. Schiff or anyone else on the committee.
There are other secure facilities in Washington at which Nunes could have met the source, and probably for appearance’s sake he should have. If he used the location in the Capitol building or other places in Washington, would the source’s identity have been compromised? Did the source demand a certain location?
It’s a vain hope, but it would be nice if the Democrat leadership and the Dems on the House Intelligence Committee were as anxious to get to the bottom of the incidental surveillance as they are to vilify Rep. Nunes.