Tuesday, 07 March 2017

Trump's "Wiretapping" Allegations Based in Fact

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President Trump is sticking to his claims that President Obama — in a move that would make Watergate look small by comparison — wiretapped Trump Tower in the weeks leading up to the election. Obama, the intelligence community, and the liberal mainstream media all say the president’s claims are false. But the evidence is on Trump’s side in this continuation of his battle with his enemies in politics, the intelligence community, and media.

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.

As The New American previously reported, President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday, accusing the Obama administration of “wiretapping” Trump Tower during the election. As we said in that article:

Reporting yesterday on Levin’s recommendation, Breitbart provided an expanded version of the case against Obama. Attempting to combat the WikiLeaks e-mails damaging the Hillary Clinton campaign, the site informed, the Obama administration submitted a new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) request last October.

Using the present tense, Breitbart writes that this request is “focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.”

In a follow-up article, The New American reported:

Almost as soon as President Trump accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the elections, Obama not only denied it, but also denied that he had ever “ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.” The statement — issued by Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis — is, of course, false.

And:

Team Obama and the liberal mainstream media pounced on Trump’s accusations, calling them “sensational” and “false.” Lewis’ statement — released Saturday afternoon — is typical of the form:

A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

The backlash did not end there, though. Others expressed their outrage that Trump would dare accuse Obama of overstepping his authority by authorizing surveillance on a presidential candidate from the other party. But, Trump is not backing down. He has called for a a Congressional investigation. On Sunday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "President Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the Congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016."

The intelligence community chimed in from the shadows, denying that Trump’s claims have any credibility whatsoever and asking the Justice Department to publicly repudiate those claims. FBI Director James Comey — who twice refused to recommend indictment against Hillary Clinton for her many (and obvious) crimes — “has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said,” according to the New York Times.

And former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — who resigned effective with Trump’s inauguration — has now joined the fray. When asked on Sunday’s Meet The Press to confirm or deny the existence of a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Act) order for surveillance of Trump Tower, Clapper flatly stated, "I can deny it." Of course, this is the same James Clapper who is known for lying under oath and on camera to Congress. Twice.

Setting aside Clapper’s utter lack of credibility, is it possible he is telling the truth this time? Perhaps he only lies under oath. Did FISA issue an order to allow surveillance of Trump Tower to ferret out connections to Russia?

The evidence says FISA did issue the order, and Clapper is keeping to his old ways.

Retired U.S. Army Intelligence Officer Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer, told FOX News that President Trump has the “paper-trail” to prove his claims. Speaking from his experience in intelligence, Shaffer said, “I don’t doubt for a minute that Mr. Trump has got sufficient — I would say critical mass — of evidence.” He also said that the FISA court did indeed issue the order and that is “one piece of evidence” that Trump’s claims are true.

That FISA order is a foregone conclusion. Earlier in the same video segment of FOX News linked above, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan danced all around the issue without ever actually answering the question. But one thing is clear: The Obama administration first made a FISA request on June 16, 2016 to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and other campaign officials. That request was turned down. The administration reworked the request and renewed it in October. That request — to wiretap Trump Tower — was approved, according to FOX News. Of course, the “investigation” of which this surveillance was a part did not turn up any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia.

FOX News also interviewed Mark Levin, who had reported this on his radio program. Levin explains that public records show the existence of the FISA order, and that the order makes mention of “a [computer] server possibly related to the Trump campaign and its alleged links to two [Russian] banks.” The New American reported on this at the time. In that article, this writer said:

Slate published an article claiming that a server belonging to Donald Trump was “communicating in a secretive fashion” with servers in Russia. By the next day, the Washington Post had debunked the Slate article, saying, “That secret Trump-Russia email server link is likely neither secret nor a Trump-Russia link.” Based in part on an interview with Naadir Jeewa, who “does consulting work on precisely the sorts of systems involved in” the scenario involving the server Slate claims was acting as a conduit between Trump and Russia, the article by the Post explains:

To understand what's likely happening, we need to establish a few basics. First of all, the Trump server wasn't really a Trump server. It was much less of a Trump email server, for example, than Hillary Clinton's email server was hers. Clinton had a physical server that hosted her email. The trump-email.com domain that Alfa was connecting to was hosted by a company called Cendyn. Cendyn runs marketing systems for the hospitality industry, meaning that it offers an out-of-the-box solution for a company that owns a bunch of hotels to push out sales pitch emails to its customers. In other words, trump-email.com isn't the email server Trump used to send emails from his closet. It was a domain name that linked back to a Cendyn server.

This is important for a few reasons. The first, Jeewa said, was that the trump-email.com was configured to reject a certain type of query from another server. Since its job was simply to push out thousands of enticements to come stay at Trump Soho (or whatever) it didn't need to receive many incoming requests (like incoming email). The second is that the conspiracy theory hinges on Trump's team using an offsite server hosted by someone else for its quiet communications with its Russian allies. Instead of, say, their own server, under their own control. Or an encrypted chat app. Or a phone call.

This writer has to admit to being amused to see the shoe on the other foot (or the tinfoil hat on the other head, in this instance) as the Left trots out wild conspiracy theories to create a Trump-Putin connection to make Clinton retroactively correct. In point of fact, Clinton might be better off trying to implicate Trump in the Kennedy assassination.

So, the allegation on which the FISA order was based was that a server “belonging” to Trump was “communicating” with Russian banks. It appears that Trump’s enemies will swallow anything that fits into their hatred of the man who is now president.

Considering the lack of honesty and lack of judgment which is par-for-the-course in the intelligence community and the lack of scruples which seems to have been a mark of the Obama administration, the investigation Trump is asking for could cause more than a few heads to roll.

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