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Michael Hayden to Newsmax: ‘Incidental collection’ key to Trump wiretap claim

By Todd Beamon  From Newsmax

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told Newsmax on Wednesday that the issue of whether President Donald Trump was wiretapped by the Obama administration would involve the surveillance practice of “incidental collection.”

“If there were any implications of U.S. privacy at Trump Tower or in the Trump transition, it would be in the question of incidental collection,” Hayden, who also directed the NSA, told Newsmax in an interview.

Hayden’s comments came after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said that he had briefed President Trump on the information collected during the surveillance process in the transition.

The data, however, did not involve the Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into Russia-related activities during the election — nor did it support Trump’s claims that he was “wiretapped” by Obama.

Nunes said that he was concerned that names of Trump campaign officials — even the president, possibly — may have been “unmasked,” or revealed, in the surveillance of communications between individuals in the U.S. with foreign targets.

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“Although Devin may have a legitimate concern about how the judgment was made, this overall process is very normal,” Hayden told Newsmax. “The chairman has the right to raise the issue that he pointed out — there was no illegal collection here — and the question comes in that judgment call that the agency makes all the time.

“He has some questions as to how that was made in these instances.”

Hayden, who knows the California Republican committee chairman through his supervising of intelligence agencies, said that Nunes “is trying to be really careful” in how he discloses his concerns with the information he has obtained.

“I know Devin. I like him,” he told Newsmax.

“Really what he’s pointing to is: ‘All right, I’m the chairman of the committee. I get to ask the question: Was this really an appropriate unmasking?’

“It’s a fair question for them to ask.”


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