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.
Barr just went full Nunes - accuses intel agencies of "spying" on Trump's campaign.— Max Bergmann (@Max Bergmann)1554906795.0
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."
Very unsure what to make of this. Barr frames the matter as in its opening stages, that he hasn't yet looked carefu… https://t.co/bMckjmV6sW— Quinta Jurecic (@Quinta Jurecic)1554908062.0
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."
Too bad he wasn't talking about the actual "spying" on the @realDonaldTrump campaign - by Russia. Instead, the AG w… https://t.co/A6aJ5hGkH8— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd)1554911224.0
Check out more national security responses below:
Former DoJ official who’s worked under presidents from both parties has concerns about yet another probe of FBI-DOJ… https://t.co/l4KhxNybF6— Carrie Johnson (@Carrie Johnson)1554909283.0
Glad Barr gave a defense of @FBI. Pathetic how weak it was.— Mimi Rocah (@Mimi Rocah)1554907077.0
Sigh https://t.co/QsyrknE8XD— Quinta Jurecic (@Quinta Jurecic)1554910961.0
Barr now clarifies, says by "spying" he means "unauthorized surveillance." That implies he's not talking about FISA… https://t.co/W3vUsFkpdL— Natasha Bertrand (@Natasha Bertrand)1554910959.0
Barr is concerned the Trump campaign wasn’t briefed. Leaving aside the fact FBI did brief on the threat of Russian… https://t.co/5g1tqjWEp2— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene)1554910973.0
Someone should ask Barr why precious DOJ resources are being spent on this when IG is already investigating. https://t.co/wROt9QpJXy— Mimi Rocah (@Mimi Rocah)1554906421.0
Barr said one of his questions is why Trump wasn’t briefed that his campaign could be the target of foreign influen… https://t.co/w8GbfVwrvK— Andrew Desiderio (@Andrew Desiderio)1554910719.0
The Justice Department’s time in a barrel is not yet over. https://t.co/gyO4lAob9l— Carrie Johnson (@Carrie Johnson)1554908862.0