Since President Trump unleashed his claims that Obama had “tapped his phones” on Twitter the Democrats and Mainstream Media have been calling him a liar. Director Comey yesterday during his Senate hearing flatly denied those claims as well and as NBC News stated in their article on the topic that “…he refuted the president’s baseless claim that his predecessor wiretapped his communications.” The media has been walking a tightrope by refuting President Trump’s claim and yet at the same time lending credence to the Trump Campaign / Russian collusion story which is based upon evidence that also supports Trump’s claim. Confused? I am and I follow this on a regular basis. While NBC and other media outlets continue to discount evidence of Obama administration executive overreach (spying on political opposition falls into this category) they continue to slander President Trump with stories where the collection of evidence that supports their narrative as widely reported in fact support Trump’s claim that he or members of his campaign and transition staff were monitored by our government.
Heatstreet – November 7, 2016 – “Exclusive: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties to Russia”
This article details how FBI sought and was granted a FISA Warrant in October of 2006 that “…covers any ‘US person’ connected to this investigation, and thus covers Donald Trump and at least three further men who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates.”
The Guardian – January 11, 2017 – “John McCain passes dossier alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts to FBI”
Here it is reported that the October FISA warrant was not the first time that the someone in the Obama administration had sought a warrant to look into members of the Trump campaign. “The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. It is generally thought that the first request was in June with another denied request in July.
BBC News – January 12, 2017 – “Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?”
The author of the BBC article cites a source which states, “A lawyer- outside the Department of Justice but familiar with the case – told me that three of Mr Trump’s associates were the subject of the inquiry. ‘But it’s clear this is about Trump.’” The pattern that we should be seeing now is multiple sources both inside and outside the government all confirming that members of the Trump campaign were the target of some type of investigation. While they may have been careful to never name Trump directly it should be readily apparent that he was ultimately the target.
The New York Times January 19, 2017 – “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates”
Clearly there was some type of surveillance at play here if we have intelligence sources leaking this information.
Washington Post – February 9, 2017 – “National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say”
Based on the headline alone one has to wonder how “officials” knew the details of a conversation of General Flynn who at the time was a civilian unless there was some type of surveillance occurring. We have already discussed the violations of his 4th Amendment rights when his identity was unmasked. The NYT asserts “Officials said this week that the FBI is continuing to examine Flynn’s communications with Kislyak. Several officials emphasized that while sanctions were discussed, they did not see evidence that Flynn had an intent to convey an explicit promise to take action after the inauguration.” So sources within the FBI are claiming that there was an investigation and that they were looking at General Flynn’s communications. I wonder how?
The New York Times – February 13, 2017 – “Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Adviser”
The NYT reports that “The F.B.I. had been examining Mr. Flynn’s phone calls as he came under growing questions about his interactions with Russian officials and his management of the National Security Council. The blackmail risk envisioned by the Justice Department would have stemmed directly from Mr. Flynn’s attempt to cover his tracks with his bosses.” Once again without a FISA warrant or other court order how was the FBI examining the phone calls of Michael Flynn? Yes electronic surveillance of some sort.
The New York Times February 14, 2017 – “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence”
As the NYT reported “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.” For a baseless claim, as NBC put it, there sure seems to be a lot of electronic surveillance surrounding Trump and members of his campaign and transition team.
PJ Media February 15, 2017 – “Surprise: At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers”
This story does not reveal claims about surveillance, but it does show forethought. The new executive order essentially broadened the pool of people to which access of NSA data was shared and thus made it easier for individuals to leak damaging information on the new administration. There can be no other reason why they would wait until they were headed out of the door if these policies were that good.
The New York Times – March 1, 2017 – “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking”
This story I wrote about in an earlier blog “Natasha Come We Get Moose Now” and my point remains the same that this was simply a rehashing of their original reporting. If there was no surveillance of Donald Trump or his associates then why all the frenetic energy invested in preserving what according to Director Comey never happened?
The Guardian – March 8, 2017 – “Why James Clapper’s Trump comments may not conflict with reports of secret court order”
As The Guardian reports “The BBC said the justice department request had originally been based on a tip-off from an intelligence agency in one of the Baltic states, saying that the banks were being used to channel Kremlin money into the US presidential campaign.” They go to great lengths to imply that if the FISA warrants targeted an outside entity that had some tie to the Trump campaign, but did not specially name Trump or his associates then James Clapper would be technically correct. This still does not answer the question of the original FISA warrant request which was denied and is rumored to have included Trump by name. This sounds suspiciously like a game of semantics is being played.
The media is playing a game with the American public and the Truth. They want you to believe that because there is an investigation that there is wrong doing afoot. (Despite the fact that almost every story above has a “cover your ass” line embedded somewhere in the article which states to the effect that no evidence of illegal acts has been uncovered.) They are reporting rumor and speculation as the Truth. These same stories clearly indicate that a massive amount of surveillance occurred and their targets may have included Trump, his associates or foreign actors that had some contact with the campaign. There is evidence that the Obama administration in their final days worked to disseminate, declassify and make available this information. Reasonable assumptions based on these actions could also conclude that these last minute changes to policies were designed and put in place to ensure that the information would eventually be made public despite it being classified. In fact the only laws we know to have been broken has been the leaking of classified information and the unmasking of General Flynn which was a direct violation of his 4th Amendment rights. And still despite the above stories in supposed trusted media outlets we are to take their word for it now that Trump’s claim is “baseless” when not one of the above stories has been retracted.
Trump is sometimes very imprecise with his language. His use of the word “Wiretap” despite its use in some of the above articles may very well have allowed previous Obama administration officials to refute the claim while technically telling the truth because they are refuting the single word used in President Trump’s tweet. The media has done a poor job of asking those follow up questions that would pin these officials down about who knew what when. Whether Obama ordered the surveillance directly, through a wink and a nod or was completely unaware is completely irrelevant in the end. There appears to be ample evidence that the powers of the federal government were used in 2016 to actively collect information on the opposition party. While many Democrats and mainstream media continue to act outraged about Trump’s allegations against his predecessor we have to remember that this type of action is not beyond the Obama administration as we saw the IRS used against conservative groups and government surveillance used against the press. It is not that far of a stretch to see an administration that had gotten away with previous abuses of power try it again, especially considering that his legacy was at stake.