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Top Democrat on House Intelligence Committee has 'grave concerns' about handling of Trump team intercepts

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank). (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank). (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) said in a statement he had "grave concerns" about revelations made Wednesday by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare).

Nunes told reporters that U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring foreign targets hd incidentally heard communications involving members of the Trump transition team and that reports about those communications were disseminated around the government.

Nunes is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Schiff is the panel's ranking Democrat.

Schiff called Nunes' decision to talk to the media and the White House -- before speaking to him and the rest of the committee -- a "profound irregularity."

Here is Schiff's statement:

"This afternoon, Chairman Devin Nunes announced he had some form of intercepts revealing that lawfully gathered intelligence on foreign officials included information on U.S. persons, potentially including those associated with President Trump or the president himself. If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been. Indeed, it appears that committee members only learned about this when the chairman discussed the matter this afternoon with the press. The chairman also shared this information with the White House before providing it to the committee, another profound irregularity, given that the matter is currently under investigation. I have expressed my grave concerns with the chairman that a credible investigation cannot be conducted this way.

"As to the substance of what the chairman has alleged, if the information was lawfully gathered intelligence on foreign officials, that would mean that U.S. persons would not have been the subject of surveillance. In my conversation late this afternoon, the chairman informed me that most of the names in the intercepted communications were in fact masked, but that he could still figure out the probable identity of the parties. Again, this does not indicate that there was any flaw in the procedures followed by the intelligence agencies. Moreover, the unmasking of a U.S. person's name is fully appropriate when it is necessary to understand the context of collected foreign intelligence information.  

"Because the committee has still not been provided the intercepts in the possession of the chairman, it is impossible to evaluate the chairman's claims. It certainly does not suggest -- in any way -- that the president was wiretapped by his predecessor."

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