Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano warned the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee could potentially risk national security if he politicized classified documents related to the special counsel probe.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the House Oversight Committee chairman, were invited by the Justice Department for a classified briefing related to FISA warrants granted in the FBI investigation of Trump campaign associates.
Nunes has demanded classified documents related to the warrants and threatened to hold top Justice Department officials in contempt if they don't comply, but Napolitano said he doesn't trust the GOP lawmakers' motives.
"They have top secret security clearances so they can see these things," Napolitano said. "The question is, will they use them for law enforcement and intelligence purposes or will they use them for political purposes?"
FBI and national intelligence officials warned the White House last week that information requested by Nunes could put a confidential U.S. intelligence source at risk, but House Republicans say they're "entitled" to the documents.
Napolitano said politicized intelligence could potentially jeopardize U.S. operatives and allies.
"It is dangerous -- I've been saying this for a long time -- for politicians, even with security clearances, to examine raw intelligence data and use it for political narrative," Napolitano said. "That keeps intel people from wanting to reveal what they have found because they don't want their names and their methods to be out there."
Napolitano said congressional investigators understood the risks better than elected officials.
"Congress' investigators are usually retired or former CIA, FBI, Secret Service, so they know exactly what they're doing," he said. "But they have a law that requires them to protect the names of sources and protect the means that the sources use. Otherwise, the source of the source contact in a foreign country -- gone."