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Eli Lake and Josh Rogin

Meet the Congressman Who Will Watch Our Spies

The House's new intelligence chairman rejects the idea of potentially reforming the legal structure behind America's vast surveillance state.
He has Paul Ryan's ear.

He has Paul Ryan's ear.

Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Devin Nunes may not be well known outside of his California congressional district or the Washington beltway, but he is about to become one of the most important figures in the U.S. national security state.    

As the new chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Nunes is one of "gang of eight" members of Congress who will be briefed on the U.S. government’s most classified military and intelligence programs. When the president orders a hostage rescue, or when the FBI unmasks an important foreign spy, Nunes will be one of the few people without a formal security clearance to know about it.