Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday that intelligence community sources have told him that he was incidentally surveilled and perhaps unmasked by the Obama administration.
“I have reason to believe that a conversation that I had was picked up with some foreign leader or some foreign person and somebody requested that my conversation be unmasked,” Graham told Fox News on Friday.
“All I can say is there are 1,950 collections on American citizens talking to people that were foreign agents being surveilled either by the CIA, the FBI or the NSA,” he told Fox News anchor Shannon Bream on “America’s Newsroom.”
“Here is the concern. Did the people in the Obama administration listen to these conversations — was there a politicizing of the intelligence gathering processes?” Graham asked. “Of the 1,950 incidental collections on American citizens, how many of them involved presidential candidates, members of Congress from either party — and if these conversations were unmasked, who made the request?”
Graham’s claim comes less than a month after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee asking if his name “or the names of other members of Congress, or individuals from our staffs or campaigns, were included in queries or searches of databases of the intelligence community, or if their identities were unmasked in any intelligence reports or products.”
Graham and Paul ran as part of a crowded Republican primary field, with neither managing to win a state and both struggling to garner support.
The South Carolina senator is now keenly interested in everything having to do with unmasking.
“I want to know everything there is about unmasking — how it works and who requested unmasking in conversations between foreign people and American members of Congress,” he said.
He added that he sent a letter to the NSA, FBI, and CIA requesting information regarding any collection pertaining to him.
“Now if you got a reason to believe any member of Congress is committing a crime, then you go get a warrant to follow us around like you would any other citizen,” Graham said. “But I meet with foreign leaders all the time and I would be upset if ANY executive branch agency listened in on MY conversations because I’m in another branch of government.”