Devin Nunes and the Canary Trap
Devin Nunes is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. In that capacity, he has taken up as his personal crusade the obstruction, derailment, and discrediting of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The most recent example of his shameful willingness to put Party above Country is his committee’s leak of Senator Mark Warner’s (D-VA) official correspondence with a Washington area lawyer.
Warner, the Senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was engaged in a negotiation with Adam Waldman to arrange a meeting with Christopher Steele, author of the Steele Dossier.
Fox and Trump spun the story as if Warner was caught in bed with a Russian oligarch.
Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a “paper trail” on a “private” meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2018
In reality, the Senate Intelligence committee considers Mr. Steele a key witness in its Russia investigation and Sen. Warner was trying to find out what he knew. Senator Macro Rubio (R-FL), a fellow Senate Intelligence Committee member, shot down the conspiracy theories pretty hard.
An inept hit-job on a Democratic Senator is par for the course for Trump and Fox News.
What makes this story matter is how it happened.
According to the New York Times, one of Devin Nunes’ staff members requested copies of Senator Warner’s correspondence for the House Intelligence Committee and, just days after copies were provided, they were published by Fox News. Notably, the documents provided to the House Intelligence Committee and those later published by Fox News lacked page numbers whereas the Senate copies had them.
Author Tom Clancy coined a term for this kind of thing in his novel Patriot Games. The “Canary Trap” uses subtle alterations to distributed documents to work out who leaks them. In the case of Warner’s correspondence, the absence of page numbering shows that Fox News got its documents from House Intelligence.
That means that Devin Nunes’ committee is actively trying to burn the Senate Intelligence Committee and scuttle its efforts to interview key witnesses in the Russia election interference investigation. Nunes’ gone from warning the White House about the investigation to trying to discredit it and is now actively trying to sabotage it.
Given the choice between his country and his party, Devin Nunes chose his party. A man like that should not sit in Congress, much less oversee national intelligence.
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