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Trump staff might not have been caught in surveillance after all

GOP House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes admitted today that it’s possible no one working for Donald Trump got caught in the NSA’s surveillance net, contradicting what Nunes told Trump and the American people yesterday.

Yesterday, Nunes was beside himself, in multiple press conferences, and in a meeting with Donald Trump himself, claiming that Trump and his staff may have been spied on by the Obama administration.

Today we learn, not so much.

Yesterday it was claimed that the NSA might have incidentally picked up Trump and his team — no, Nunes said the NSA did pick up Trump and his team — in their legitimate spying on foreigners.

Today Nunes says it’s possible that Trump and his staff were simply mentioned by foreigners under surveillance, and that’s how Trump’s and his staff’s names made it into US intelligence reports.

Heck of a difference there.

More from ABC:

Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes

Based on the limited amount of information provided by Nunes so far, it’s possible that foreign officials were overheard talking about Trump transition team members, one intelligence official speculated, as opposed to transition members participating directly in the communications.

It’s also possible the information now cited by Nunes came from emails –- not phone calls –- intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Overhearing foreigners talking about American citizens also counts as “incidental” surveillance of those Americans — Nunes didn’t bother mentioning that yesterday.

This is a far cry from what Nunes told Trump and the American people yesterday. And in the case of Trump, the damage is done. The president, who is notoriously unfriendly to nuance, interpreted Nunes’ message as meaning the NSA spied on him. Trump, naturally, claimed he was partially vindicated in his false assertion that President Obama “tapped his wires.”

This new revelation likely explains why Nunes apologized to Intelligence Committee members, including Democrats, today for the way he handled things yesterday. Nunes likely was told after the fact that he got it wrong, that perhaps no one was caught in any intelligence net, and that Nunes had effectively set Trump off on another wild goose chase.

Heckuva job, Devin.

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John Aravosis
Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children’s Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in New York City, and is the cofounder of TimeToResign.com. Bio, article archive.

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