White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said that he is “not at liberty” to discuss a report that White House officials helped provide House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) with intelligence reports.
“To comment on that story would be to validate certain things that I’m not at liberty to do,” Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that two White House officials helped provide Nunes with reports allegedly showing that communications of members of President Donald Trump’s transition were caught up by incidental surveillance.
Spicer said that Nunes “has an opportunity to have his sources,” comparing it to a journalist’s responsibility to protect anonymous tipsters, though Spicer has previously expressed concern about leaks.
In February, he reportedly ordered staffers to hand over their phones for a “phone check” during a meeting to deter leakers — which itself was then leaked to the media.
On Monday, however, Spicer appeared to have reversed that position. He told reporters that the White House is “not concerned” about leaks in the context of Nunes’ alleged information.
“You told us you’re willing to look into and ask questions about the process and provide us answers,” CBS’ Major Garrett asked Spicer.
“Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said I would provide you answers. I said we would look into it,” Spicer said.
“If it were wrong, would you tell us?” Garrett pressed, referring to the New York Times report.
“I’m not going to get into it,” Spicer said. “How many times can you ask the same question?”