Citing Former Obama Official's Remarks, Trump White House Wants Congress To Look Deeper Into Surveillance Claims

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 01, 2017 1:30 PM
Citing Former Obama Official's Remarks, Trump White House Wants Congress To Look Deeper Into Surveillance Claims

Leah wrote about how former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia Evelyn Farkas might have indicated that the Trump’ team might have been spied on in a March 1 interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe [emphasis mine]:

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.”

The New York Times also reported how the Obama team worked as quickly as possible to spread such information throughout government before Trump’s inauguration. Now, after Farkas’ remarks, the Trump White House wants Congress to look into the claim (via Fox News):

The White House is asking Congress to dig deeper into whether communications of Trump associates were improperly picked up and disseminated during surveillance operations, after an ex-Obama administration official suggested her former colleagues tried to gather such material.

White House Counsel Don McGahn specifically cited Evelyn Farkas’ comments in a letter to the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, as he invited lawmakers to view documents that apparently show surveillance of Trump associates during the transition.

[…]

Farkas parted ways with the White House in 2015 and defended herself on Twitter, saying she didn’t personally “give anybody anything except advice” on Russia information and wanted Congress to ask for facts.

She also told The Daily Caller she was not involved in circulating any intelligence, saying, “I wasn’t in government anymore and didn’t have access to any.”

At left, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; at right, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. (AP)

But even if Farkas was not personally involved with any of the collection, McGahn asked the House committee to look at how such intelligence was gathered.