Hmm: Did This Former Obama Official Just Disclose That Trump's Team Was Spied On?

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Mar 29, 2017 2:00 PM
Hmm: Did This Former Obama Official Just Disclose That Trump's Team Was Spied On?

Former Obama official Evelyn Farkas appeared on MSNBC this week to discuss a March 1 story in The New York Times about how the “Obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of Russian election hacking.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski introduced Farkas, who was deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration, saying she “actually knew about this attempt to get and preserve information…and were doing some work yourself.”

Farkas responded by admitting her colleagues worked to preserve intelligence on Trump’s staff before President Obama left the White House.

“Well, I was urging my former colleagues, and, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can – get as much intelligence as you can – before President Obama leaves the administration,” said Farkas, who’s now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.  

“Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the Trump staff, dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods — meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence.”

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes has come under fire from lawmakers over his claim that Obama’s intelligence community monitored members of Trump’s transition team. Democrats have called for him to recuse himself from investigations on Russia, but Nunes and his congressional allies have pushed back.

But whether communications among Trump transition members were improperly gathered is only one part of the equation. The other is the controversy over how the information was shared. Nunes said the details were “widely disseminated” among the intelligence community—a point Farkas seems to confirm.

"So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia," she said. "So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill."

Watch the clip below starting around the 4:50 mark: