WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican chairman of the U.S. House
of Representatives intelligence committee said on Wednesday some of
President Donald Trump's personal communications may have been
caught up in "incidental" surveillance involving a foreign power in the
months after the election.
Representative Devin Nunes said all of the additional information he
had seen was collected legally in November, December and January -
after Election Day - but the names of some Trump officials involved had
been unmasked and the communications widely disseminated within spy
Nunes made his announcement at a news conference two days after
the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey,
confirmed to a hearing of his committee that it was conducting a criminal
investigation of potential links between Trump associates and Russia,
as Moscow sought to influence the 2016 U.S. election to benefit Trump.
"I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence
community ... collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the
Trump transition," Nunes told reporters.
Nunes said he obtained the information from a source he did not
identify in any way. Democrats on the committee said they had not been
consulted about the information before the news conference.
"I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the
investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team," Nunes said.
However, Nunes said later that he could not be sure that other
information existed elsewhere related to Russia.
U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russia of seeking to influence
the presidential election in Trump's favor against Democratic candidate
Hillary Clinton by hacking computer systems and spreading
disinformation. Russia denies the allegations.
Nunes said he was "very concerned" about whether U.S. intelligence
agencies were spying on Trump. He said he had briefed Republican
House Speaker Paul Ryan and planned to share the information with
the White House later on Wednesday.
Nunes spoke to reporters just before Trump spokesman Sean Spicer
gave his daily news briefing at the White House.
Spicer read some of Nunes' statement during the briefing.
"I do think it is a startling revelation, and there's a lot of questions that
need to get asked," Spicer said.
Surveillance findings raise
concern about spying on