Neat things you learn in U.S. House of Representatives hearings. Things like, “Yes, REPUBLICANS WE ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE GATHERING UP INFORMATION ABOUT YOU!”

No, the Director of National Intelligence actually said it this past week.

In the hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday DNI Avril Haines verbalized something as ill-fated as her youthful decision to re-build the avionics on a Cessna and fly herself across the Atlantic Ocean. Haines crash-landed in Newfoundland. And on Thursday Haines pretty much described the plunging crash of what we once accepted as fairness in investigating our own people.

Haines told California Congressman Devin Nunes and others on the committee that the National Counter-Terrorism Center has a broad latitude to analyze information collected about American citizens. Not just from FBI either. Haines said the NCTC “has the statutory authority to receive domestic intelligence,” and then analyze that data. 

Until now policy makers were pretty much in consensus that NCTC analyzed FOREIGN data. Opposed FOREIGN threats.

All of this NATURALLY set off Congressman Nunes who said, “The 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… however, I will remind those assembled here today that our intelligence community exists solely to counteract foreign threats.”

Nunes made a polite and reasonable request of the Democratic-nominated intelligence chiefs who would appear before the committee. He asked them to please engage in, “activities other than investigating conservatives and spying on Republican presidential campaigns.”

How sweet.

How times have changed.

In days long gone it would have been shameful for a center to compile information on Americans. Its been specifically codified that only FBI has authority to look at domestic threats for 50 years. 

Now, the leader of all the intelligence agencies believes its okay that the National Counter Terrorism Center is legally allowed to gather and analyze information on certain Americans IF they just don’t COLLECT that information themselves.

Its a thoroughly unique approach, and whistleblower Nunes might even argue a national strategy of spying on one’s own. What a plane wreck we find ourselves in!