Opinion: Did Rep. Devin Nunes just ruin his committee’s ability to investigate Trump?

Nunes Speaks on Surveilance of Trump’s Transition Team at White House
Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes speaks to the media outside the White House after meeting with President Trump on March 22. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA)
(Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA)

To the editor: How deliciously ironic that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) exploits, or even worse instigates, the very intelligence leaks he and his Republican cohorts repeatedly have decried during the current hearings on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. (“Nunes’ freelancing threatens an investigation into Russian meddling,” editorial, March 24)

Using classified information to further such a transparently partisan action — disclosing to the president some of the intelligence gathered on his campaign — not only damages Nunes’ personal integrity, it has also clearly damaged the ability of the committee to hold a fair, balanced and comprehensive investigation that requires holding the subjects at arm’s length.

John Brock, Hansville, Wash.



To the editor: The article states in its opening sentence that U.S. intelligence agencies had “inadvertently” intercepted communications naming President Trump’s transition team members. That word is used later in the piece.

In fact, those intercepts were no way were inadvertent. They were intentional, part of an entirely appropriate and authorized intelligence-gathering operation. Rather, as Nunes said, the intercept of communications including these Trump team members was “incidental,” a very different thing.

Don’t get me wrong; I find Trump abhorrent on most grounds and think what Nunes did to be blatantly improper. That said, a reader, believing these intercepts were indeed inadvertent, would have a very different sense of Nunes’ actions, one that might well make his notifying of the president less objectionable.

As many have been preaching in the face of the president’s prevarications, words matter. It’s important to get this stuff right.


Michael Weinbaum, San Clemente

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