House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told fellow Republicans he has witnessed evidence demonstrating a clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to a new report.
Nunes’ comments were made as he was attempting to garner votes for a bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Section 702 permits the intelligence community to oversee foreign communications, but does not authorize the government to oversee Americans. The bill was passed by the House on Thursday.
Ahead of the vote, Nunes said he has not seen evidence to suggest Section 702 was abused to look at foreigners, but that other sections of the law had been misused by the government to oversee Americans, Fox News reported.
Nunes informed other lawmakers he would “read all 435 members of Congress into major abuses with other areas of FISA and will read members in ASAP” on those issues.
No further details were given given concerning the abuses Nunes brought up during the closed-door meetings this week. A report from the Washington Examiner this week said that representatives from congressional panels, including the House Intelligence Committee, viewed Obama-era FISA documents at the Justice Department earlier this month.
That meeting occurred after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray released the documents to lawmakers. Nunes had issued a letter to Rosenstein in December slamming the agencies for their “failure to fully produce” documents concerning the so-called “Trump dossier,” noting “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”
The Washington Examiner previously reported that the committees had the chance to view the documents that pertain to whether the FBI used unverified information from the dossier as a reason to spy on Americans.
Nunes said he will try to allow every member of the House to view the documents and come up with their own conclusions, though some Republicans already believe the dossier played a major role in leading to the authorization of surveillance of Trump officials.
Some aspects of the dossier — like communications between foreign nationals noted in the dossier — have been confirmed by officials. However, the majority of the scandalous allegations included in the document have not been verified.
The dossier came to light publicly after it was published in full by BuzzFeed in January 2017.