In a scenario that increasingly is looking more and more like a late night spy movie, House Intelligence Committee Chairman #Devin Nunes' White House visit continues to unfold more and more intriguing information that would entice James Bond enthusiasts. In the latest revelation, it has been learned that Nunes did not acquire surveillance documents but rather "viewed" such documents on the White House grounds. The documents, because of their classified nature, could not be "put in a backpack" and only could be "viewed."
Names of Administration 'leakers'
Additionally, the New York Times has revealed the names of two Administration sources who allegedly "showed" the documents to Nunes.
According to the Huffington Post, the names of the two Administrations officials who allegedly showed the classified surveillance documents to Nunes grounds are Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis. Watnick serves as an intelligence director for the National Security Council (NSC). Ellis is an attorney and specializes in national security issues. Ellis also served as Nunes' general counsel on the House Intelligence Committee prior to going to the White House. At this point, this information is unconfirmed; but it is being looked into prodigiously by major media sources. In a press conference on Thursday, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer would not confirm or deny the report, which added to the mystery surrounding the entire issue.
What the documents showed
Nunes described the documents that he "viewed" as having revealed that Trump and his campaign staff were "subjects" of "incidental" collection of surveillance that targeted alleged foreign spies. As Nunes explained it, the names of relevant White House staffers were "unmasked" in the process of the "incidental" surveillance collection..
Nunes runs to Trump
It was at this point that Nunes made another trip to the White House to "share" what he had learned from viewing the classified White House documents with President Trump. In other words, Nunes went to tell Trump about White House documents to which he already had access to as President. This causes one to wonder if Trump, whose Twitter rants about wiretapping have continued, had seen and/or reviewed the documents prior to Nunes' visit to his office.
This continually unfolding, "real life" spy movie is reminiscent of "Deep Throat" during the Watergate era. While that daily scandal was unfolding, a White House official, who only was known as "Deep Throat," was meeting with two Washington Post reporters in a garage in Washington, D.C. and revealing information on the illegal activities of the Nixon White House. It was revealed 30 years later that "Deep Throat" was Mark Felt, who was an assistant Director of the FBI..
And now in 2017, it is revealed that the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, met with two White House officials covertly to "view," but not take, classified surveillance documents. And then Nunes made another pilgrimage to the White House to brief Trump on his findings, without having briefed the members of his committee beforehand. A silhouette of a figure with an oversized magnifying glass in his hand on the White House lawn comes to mind.
More troubles for Trump
As if this is not enough, #Donald Trump also has other problems with which he must deal expeditiously. It appears that because of the failure of his health care bill, which was his signature campaign issue in 2016, that Trump, and his cohort on the Hill, Paul Ryan, may have guaranteed that a Democratic Party Congress will be elected in 2018. This latest cloud over the Administration and the House Intelligence Committee under the leadership of Devin Nunes seems to be "doubling down" on that guarantee.