Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif) on Thursday pushed back against the Democrat and Intelligence Community crusade to criminalize right-wing political expression, accusing them of focusing on partisan actions against U.S. citizens instead of bigger threats around the world.
During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Worldwide Threats, Nunes accused Democrats of “characterizing wide swaths of American citizens, particularly Republicans and conservatives, as politically suspect, politically violent, and deserving of government surveillance,” and decried the “weaponization of intelligence community” against these “so-called domestic extremists.”
In a barb toward the Intelligence Community, Nunes expressed hope that in the future they will spend time “on activities other than investigating conservatives and spying on Republican presidential campaigns.”
Nunes’ pointed comments come as the Biden DOJ cracks down hard on Trump supporters following the Capitol Hill riot on January 6. As American Greatness author Julie Kelly noted in her recent piece on the New RussiaGate Lie, “regular Americans exercising their First Amendment rights are being treated as political prisoners, held hostage by their own government, denied due process.”
Nunes began his opening statement by citing Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) press release announcing the hearing, which falsely claimed that the Trump administration had “discarded the tradition of open hearings on World Wide Threats, when it displeased the former president to have his preferred views of rival nations contradicted by agency heads.”
Nunes said this characterization was purposefully misleading.
“The real reason Trump officials didn’t want to participate is that, for years, the committee’s Democrats hijacked our open hearings to advance conspiracy theories on the Trump administration being filled with Russian agents who colluded with Putin in the 2016 election, among many other issues,” Nunes explained, going on to recount some of the Democrats’ more outlandish conspiracy theories and smears from the Trump era.
“Based on this experience, we have very little reason to hope that the Democrats have any interest in using today’s hearing to fulfill the committee’s core missions, to ensure the Intelligence Community is properly resourced and to monitor it for abuses,” Nunes lamented.
“Instead we expect Democrats to encourage the further weaponization of intelligence community against so-called domestic extremists among other conspiracy theorists,” he said.
“Democrats see political benefits in characterizing wide swaths of American citizens, particularly Republicans and conservatives, as politically suspect, politically violent, and deserving of government surveillance,” Nunes explained. “However, I remind those assembled here today that our intelligence community exists solely to counteract foreign threats. History shows that major abuses occur when our intelligence capabilities are turned inward to spy on our own citizens, from the FBI spying on Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s and ’60s to its surveillance of Republican Party members in 2016. This is a red line that simply cannot be crossed. In fact, this committee was created in large part to ensure that that line should not be crossed.”
Nunes said it was “concerning” that the Biden administration has the director of national intelligence inappropriately leading a report on domestic violent extremism, and noted with dismay that “a growing number of classified products from the National Counterterrorism Center are “focused on U.S.-based individuals with no foreign influence or connection.”
The congressman informed the panel that all of the Republican members of the Intelligence Committee have submitted a letter to the DNI questioning his authority to report on domestic terrorism and domestic extremism, as “domestic terrorism with no foreign connection is the jurisdiction of our nation’s law enforcement apparatus—not the intelligence community.” The Republican warned that attempts “to blur this line would provoke severe repercussions” from Republicans in Congress and the American people.
In a direct slap at the politicized IC, Nunes quipped, “as to the leaders of the Intelligence Community, I hope you plan on spending a reasonable amount of time in upcoming years on activities other than investigating conservatives and spying on Republican presidential campaigns.”
He continued: “At a time when the Intelligence Committee directors appear reluctant to even name Islamic extremists as a terrorism threat and when they spend so much time virtue signaling on Democrat priorities such as global warming, I’m concerned about specific sets of issues that include terrorist networks are continuing to spread. International drug cartels and human traffickers are crossing our borders as we speak,” Nunes explained. “Foreign cybercriminals are penetrating our digital infrastructure, and we still can’t get answers about the true origins of the coronavirus in China.”
“When our nation’s leaders don’t pay proper attention to these issues and instead focus on targeting their political opponents, real threats to American national security do not evaporate,” Nunes warned. “To the contrary, our enemies who pay close attention to our domestic political affairs become emboldened, and we end up with dangerous developments among rogue states.”
As examples, he cited the Taliban being emboldened by the Biden administrations needless public announcement of “an arbitrary withdrawal deadline” (of Sept. 11) for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, “Russia aggressively threatening military action against Ukraine,” and “China undertaking increasingly menacing provocations against Taiwan.”
“We have to see the world the way it is, not the way we want it to be or what is convenient for perverted political narratives,” Nunes said during the House Intelligence Committee’s annual public World Wide Threats Hearing. “The intelligence community has a crucial task of defending our national security from foreign threats, but the increasing politicization of this apparatus risks becoming a threat to our national security in and of itself,” Nunes concluded.