On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters that members of the intelligence community “incidentally collected” communications from the Trump transition team during the Obama administration. The Republican Chairman said that a “incidental collection” of conversations were obtained “legally” by intelligence officials in the course of “normal, foreign surveillance.”
“I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community … collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition,” Nunes told reporters.
Rep. Nunes said that he obtained the information legally by individuals that believed that the Intelligence Committee should know about the surveillance.
“This information was legally brought to me by sources who thought we should know it,” Nunes told reporters.
Details about Americans that were associated with the Trump transition team “with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting,” Nunes said.
“I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team,” he added.
According to Nunes, his sources said that most of the information was from November, December and January which encompasses the time between when Donald Trump was elected and when he took office on Inauguration Day.
Rep. Nunes said that he was “alarmed” by the news but could not specify whether Trump himself was under surveillance or whether the transition team was surveilled beyond routine foreign surveillance.
On Wednesday, President Trump said that he felt “somewhat vindicated.”
Nunes’ announcement comes just two days after the House Select Intelligence Committee held a hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers about Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign as well as possible ties between the Trump team and Russia. The allegations that President Trump made that the U.S. had wiretapped Trump Tower before he took office was also a topic of discussion.