Many people were wondering why the White House was holding back on calling out the congressional intelligence oversight gang-of-eight regarding their political unwillingness to review the same executive intelligence previously reviewed by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.
Today, you just got the answer.
White House Deputy Chief-of-Staff Katie Walsh was fired today immediately following a New York Times report which outed two National Security Council members as the source for Devin Nunes “tip” to review a specific batch of President Obama’s executive intelligence. The transparent sequence of events reveals that Walsh was the source of NYT reporter Maggie Haberman’s article; (Walsh and Haberman are “friends”).
And with the White House Leaker now identified and fired, the White House challenges the congressional intelligence committee leaders, four members of the oversight ‘gang-of-eight,’ to come and review the Obama intelligence report. That review request paints Intel Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chair Senator Mark Warner into a corner.
President Trump is now challenging the House and Senate intel committee heads to review the evidence of President Obama’s surveillance. How can they refuse to see the truth without exposing their political agenda?
Well played, Team Trump, well played.
Here’s the play – FIRST THE LEAKER:
White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, a top aide to President Donald Trump, is leaving his administration to work for an outside group supporting the president’s agenda, three Republicans close to Trump said. […] Walsh was a close ally of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, serving as his chief of staff when Priebus led the Republican National Committee. (link)
Katie Walsh was brought on specifically because President Trump’s Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus asked for her. Walsh was a #NeverTrumper during the 2016 primary.
[Now fathom the renewed leverage/influence President Trump (and Bannon) carries over Priebus.]
♦ The article written by Maggie Haberman outlined two National Security Council members as the people who facilitated the intelligence information for Devin Nunes to review:
[…] The congressman [Nunes] has refused to identify his sources, saying he needed to protect them so others would feel safe coming to the committee with sensitive information. He disclosed the existence of the intelligence reports on March 22, and in his public comments he has described his sources as whistle-blowers trying to expose wrongdoing at great risk to themselves.
Several current American officials identified the White House officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel’s Office and formerly worked on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment.
Mr. Cohen-Watnick is a former Defense Intelligence Agency official who was originally brought to the White House by Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser. The officials said that this month, shortly after Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter about being wiretapped on the orders of President Barack Obama, Mr. Cohen-Watnick began reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials.
Officials said the reports consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about how they were trying to develop contacts within Mr. Trump’s family and inner circle in advance of his inauguration.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the intelligence and to avoid angering Mr. Cohen-Watnick and Mr. Ellis. Officials say Mr. Cohen-Watnick has been reviewing the reports from his fourth-floor office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where the National Security Council is based.
But the officials’ description of the intelligence is in line with Mr. Nunes’s own characterization of the material, which he has said was not related to the Russia investigations when he disclosed its existence in a hastily arranged news conference.
According to Mr. Nunes, he received a phone call from a source the night before, and then rushed to meet the person on the grounds of the White House. He has explained the choice of location by saying he needed access to a secure place where people with security clearances could legally view classified information, though such facilities can also be found in the Capitol building and at other locations across Washington.
The next day, Mr. Nunes gave a news briefing at the Capitol and then returned to the White House to brief President Trump on the information. (link)
With Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel’s Office, outed as the source of the information for Chairman Nunes – the entire media narrative of “controversy” collapses as a nothingburger.
Both Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis are cleared and authorized to act on behalf of the President in such matters. The President’s National Security Council has a responsibility to follow intelligence protocols to draw attention to matters of compromise; their notification of Intel Chairman Devin Nunes is following that protocol.
♦ So the administration action follows – With the long-sought White House leaker (Katie Walsh) identified and released, and the controversy of the Nunes leaker a nothingburger, the White House now moves forward with a brilliant request to the Intelligence Oversight Gang-of-Eight to come and review the aforementioned discovery of President Obama surveillance.
Once Ranking Member Adam Schiff and Committee Vice-Chair Senator Mark Warner review the intelligence information they will no longer be able to claim President Trump WAS NOT under political surveillance by former President Obama.
The information is also available to the other oversight members of the Gang of Eight: Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer.
The most visible and vocal democrat opposition to the White House is now painted into a corner.
….”Sorry to keep you waiting” …”Complicated business folks,… Complicated business”!
The moral of the story: Never Hire a #NeverTrumper