National security experts gravely concerned as AG Bill Barr pushes Trump's 'spying' conspiracy at Senate hearing
AG William Barr testifies before Congress. (Image via AFP/Nicholas Kamm.)

National security experts began loudly ringing the alarm Wednesday morning after Attorney General William Barr claimed that American intelligence agencies were "spying" on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign during a hearing before the Senate.

Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the director of the Trump-Russia-focused Moscow Project, tweeted that Barr "went full Nunes," a reference to former House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) who infamously pushed a theory that American intelligence agencies were working against the president.

Quinta Jurecic, the managing editor of the Lawfare blog, said she's "very unsure of what to make of" the AG's statement, which also included a caveat that there may have been a good reason for the FBI to "spy" on the Trump campaign.

"Barr frames the matter as in its opening stages, that he hasn't yet looked carefully into it," Jurecic wrote. "But declaring that 'spying occurred' is a very weird thing to say and plays into the Federalist et al's narrative about spygate!!! So I just don't know."

CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd noted that it was "too bad" that the attorney general "wasn't talking about the actual 'spying'" on Trump's campaign — that was undertaken by Russia.

"Instead," she noted, "the AG was mischaracterizing the intel and law enforcement community's counterintelligence investigation into that Russian spying."

Check out more national security responses below: