(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the incidental collection of intelligence on U.S. citizens happens, but Democrats should be “a little more outraged” about “the political use of that unmasking.”
“Adam [Schiff] is right that the incidental collection of U.S. persons happens. What I wish some of my friends on the other side would be a little more outraged about is the political use of that unmasking,” Gowdy said.
“So I understand we collect U.S. citizens, but we don’t read about those U.S. citizens on the front page of ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post.’ That, in addition to threatening the surveillance programs, is also a felony,” he said.
Gowdy said he hopes to learn more about the unmasking of U.S. citizens on Tuesday.
“All of this is important, John, every bit of it. Russia is not our friend. They attacked our democracy. I want to investigate every fact that is related thereto, but the felonious dissemination of classified information is the only thing we know for sure is a crime, and it would be nice if we showed the same level of interest in that,” Gowdy said.
Gowdy said his understanding is that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) “briefed the commander in chief on matters unrelated to the Russian investigation. So, if that is big deal in Washington, then we have sunk to a new low.”
“Well, I guess Congressman Schiff would say, but the president is the one that is a part of this investigation being done by the committee, so the chairman shouldn’t be talking to him,” CBS’s John Dickerson said.
“Well, then, let me repeat what I said. The chairman of House intel briefed the commander in chief on something that has nothing to do with the Russia investigation. So if the commander in chief cannot be briefed by the chairperson of the House Intel Committee on a matter that has nothing to do with the FBI investigation, then I don’t know what they can talk about, John,” Gowdy said.
“So if this is an issue outside of the one they are investigating at the moment in the committee and that you are investigating, should it then be taken out of this investigation, have a separate investigation on both the issues that Chairman Nunes has discovered this week, and then also the one you are quite concerned about, which is the leaks that have been in the paper, some of them potentially illegal, get that out of this question of Russia to keep things from getting mixed the way they appear to have?” Dickerson asked.
“They are separate,” Gowdy said. As far as an independent commission investigating the issue, Gowdy said, “Thank goodness we have one. It is called the FBI. The FBI has counterintelligence jurisdiction and they have criminal jurisdiction, and what we learned on Monday, and it is about the only thing we learned on Monday, was that the FBI’s investigating both.
“They are the world’s premier law enforcement agency. They are independent. You have women and men at the Department of Justice who have dedicated their careers to the blind pursuit of justice. It doesn’t get any more independent than that. So we have an independent entity investigating counterintelligence and allegations of potential criminality. Let Congress do its job, which is provide oversight over the intelligence community,” Gowdy added.