Monday, 03 April 2017

Trump Surveillance: Has the Deep State Finally Gone Too Far?

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As the intelligence community's surveillance of the Trump campaign continues to come to light, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the deep state — which seems used to operating without any real accountablility — underestimated Trump's ablity to win the election. If Trump pushes back with the full authority of his office, those responsible may soon find they have underestimated him in other ways, as well.

President Trump took to his favorite social-media platform Saturday morning to point to a report by Fox News supporting his claim that his campaign was targeted for surveillance. Trump tweeted, “Wow, @FoxNews just reporting big news. Source: ‘Official behind unmasking is high up. Known Intel official is responsible. Some unmasked not associated with Russia. Trump team spied on before he was nominated.’ If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for U.S.”

President Trump — who has claimed for weeks that the Obama administration had his campaign under surveillance — was referring to an online article published on Friday by Fox News. That article, under the headline "Intelligence official who 'unmasked' Trump associates is 'very high up,' source says," says, “Intelligence and House sources with direct knowledge of the disclosure of classified names" told Fox News that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (shown, R-Calif.) “knows who is responsible — and that person is not in the FBI.” The article also says that an unnamed source with access to information about the case told Fox News that the U.S. intelligence official who is responsible for the “unmasking” of the names of a number of private citizens associated with the Trump campaign is someone “very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world.”

As more information in this case becomes known, one thing is becoming clearer: President Trump’s tweet on March 4 claiming that the Obama administration had him and his team under surveillance — going so far as to wiretap Trump Tower — was not worthy of the scornful treatment it received from the liberal mainstream media. As this writer said in an article at the time:

The recent kerfuffle first came to light on Saturday, when President Trump took to his favorite social media platform with a series of tweets:

• “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

• “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”

• “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

• “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

The crux of the whole thing is that the intelligence community — hell-bent on proving some type of “Russian connection” — crossed some lines that should never have been crossed in an attempt prove what looks more and more like the unprovable. As this writer wrote just three days after the president’s tweets about wiretapping (and while the liberal mainstream media was still painting a picture of a paranoid, tinfoil-hat-wearing Trump), the wiretapping appears to be part of a bigger attempt to discredit the president:

As part of the investigation into alleged — and unproven — connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, the Obama administration appears to have wired Trump tower for sound. The New American previously covered the intelligence community’s attacks on Trump — first as a candidate, then as President-elect — including the release of a “dossier” purported to show that Trump was both under the control of and the beneficiary of Russian intelligence services. Claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Trump in the White House, Trump’s enemies in politics and the intelligence community — with an assist from the liberal mainstream media — pushed forward with an “investigation” to prove those claims, while ignoring clear evidence that the Clinton campaign had direct ties to Russia.

And — as the Fox News article President Trump tweeted about Saturday shows — there is not any real doubt that that surveillance was taking place and that it included quite a few private citizens who were involved in the Trump campaign. And that those private citizens were “unmasked” (or had their names and communications included in the intelligence reports about the surveillance). This is outside the normal boundaries for this type of surveillance. As the Fox News article explains, “For a private citizen to be ‘unmasked,’ or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.”

Since none of the people in the Trump campaign were suspects in any honest meaning of the word, were in danger (unless you consider being on the intelligence community’s radar as being in danger), or needed to be named to explain the context of the report (which context is simply that there was nothing going on that justified the surveillance in the first place), there is no justification for their names and communications to have been collected, much less included in the reports.

This type of gross overreach is a mark of the deep state. Hopefully — by targeting Trump and the people close to him — the agents of the deep state have gone too far this time. If President Trump pushes back with the full weight of his Article II authority and has the support of enough in Congress with its Article I authority, the deep state may get deep-sixed. And frankly, it’s high time.

Photo of House Intelligence Committe Chairman Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.): AP Images

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