Monday, March 6, 2017

Don't Ignore ObamaGate

      Notwithstanding the massive effort in the media to cast dispersions on the allegations of wiretapping, it would be foolish to automatically ignore this developing story because it is part and parcel with how the Obama Administration acted. Tom Shattuck, writing at The Boston Herald, probably sums it up best:
       The Democrats want you to think this is a crazy conspiracy theory for an unhinged tweeting president. 
       But Obama has a rich legacy of using the federal government as a political weapon and it would be foolish to think he suddenly started restraining himself, when he was never held to account by either the media or Democrats in power. 
       Remember, Obama’s Justice Department secretly subpoenaed the private phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters. It was pure spying. 
       Fox News reporter James Rosen and his family were wiretapped. 
       Former CBS news reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by the government. 
       Add to these incidents the harassment of conservative 501(c)(4) organizations by Obama’s IRS, and the mercenary nature of the Obama administration reveals itself.
Roger Simon further points out:
It seems that tapping of some sort actually occurred because it was virtually acknowledged  in tweets from Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau,  who sprang to action only hours after Trump tweeted, writing : "I'd be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it." Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, had almost simultaneously declared:  "Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U. S. citizen."  Ordered?  That's what we used to call plausible deniability and now is known as a wiggle word.
       Besides, this isn't actually anything new. As Front Page Magazine reports, Mark Levin reminded everyone on "Fox and Friends" Sunday that evidence of secret court-approved eavesdropping of Trump Tower had already been reported months ago by the New York Times, McClatchy media outlets, Heat Street, and the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper. For instance, the Heat Street article from November 7, 2016, stated:
       Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia. 
       ... The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. ...
Moreover, that is not all:
We already knew that days before Trump’s inauguration, it was reported that Obama green-lighted a disturbing relaxation of the rules regulating the National Security Agency’s ability to circulate globally intercepted personal communications among the other 16 intelligence agencies, some of which are more politicized than the NSA, before applying important longstanding privacy-protection protocols. Before the policy was altered, the NSA screened out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information before passing intercepted communications along to other agencies like the CIA or the FBI’s intelligence units.
Or, as The Last Refuge concludes their own timeline of events:
In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.
       Delving into the details further, the Anonymous Conservative notes some disturbing facts about the way the Obama Administration handled the FISA requests. Quoting from a Law Newz article:
       Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected a whopping 12. Apparently, according to published reports, you can add one more to that — even the FISA court first rejected Obama’s request to spy on Trump’s team under the guise of an investigation into foreign agents of a pending war attack… 
       This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors… 
       Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts. Lastly, given the later behavior, it is evident any promise in the affidavit to protect the surveilled information from ever being sourced or disseminated was a false promise, intended to induce the illicit surveillance. This is criminalized both by federal perjury statutes, conspiracy statutes, and the FISA criminal laws themselves… 
       … by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both. 
       Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information…
 The Anonymous Conservative adds his own thoughts:
Now, even without the media, this investigative train is beginning to leave the station and pick up steam. I have no idea where it goes, but things like this can quickly get out of control, and begin to choose their own path. We have no idea who in Congress has a bone to pick with any of the involved agencies, or what may come up unexpectedly in the course of investigations. A small investigation of a minor land deal by the Clintons decades back morphed into Monica Lewinsky and Impeachment – and it would have produced a removal had Clinton not effectively stalled it for so long. Where does an investigation bigger than Watergate, involving the President of the United States wiretapping political opposition using the intelligence infrastructure go? 
You know that the Trump administration, being as brilliant as it is, has to have foreseen this possibility, and they do appear to be letting things move in the direction of investigation regardless. So where might it go that could be even worse for Obama? 
That is what nobody is talking about, and it is what might become the most important facet of this investigation. What if it wasn’t just Trump’s people under coverage? ...
Well, I would hope, for one thing, that it leads to something similar to the Church Committee, except involving domestic surveillance. Roger Simon, however, probably has the right of the current mood in Washington: "If I were a Democrat, I'd be afraid.  I'd be very afraid."

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