Former deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for Barack Obama came to Obama’s defense in the latest chapter of the unfolding Trump – Obama wiretap saga.
Rhodes made the claim that…
“No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”
Rhodes then said “only a liar” could make the case that Obama wire tapped Trump Tower ahead of the US election.
No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you. https://t.co/lEVscjkzSw
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) March 4, 2017
The person dishing out misleading facts is not President Trump, but Obama loyalist Ben Rhodes. Zerohedge explains…
It would appear, however, that Rhodes is wrong, especially as pertains to matters of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, and its associated FISA court, under which the alleged wiretap of Donald Trump would have been granted, as it pertained specifically to Trump’s alleged illicit interactions with Russian entities.
In Chapter 36 of Title 50 of the US Code *War and National Defense”, Subchapter 1, Section 1802, we read the following:
(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—
(A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at—
(i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section 1801(a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or
(ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in section 1801(a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;
(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party; and
(C) the proposed minimization procedures with respect to such surveillance meet the definition of minimization procedures under section 1801(h) of this title; and
if the Attorney General reports such minimization procedures and any changes thereto to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at least thirty days prior to their effective date, unless the Attorney General determines immediate action is required and notifies the committees immediately of such minimization procedures and the reason for their becoming effective immediately.
While (B) seems to contradict the underlying permissive nature of Section 1802 as it involves a United States person, what the Snowden affair has demonstrated all too clearly, is how frequently the NSA and FISA court would make US citizens collateral damage. To be sure, many pointed out the fact that Fox News correspondent James Rosen was notoriously wiretapped in 2013 when the DOJ was investigating government leaks. The Associated Press was also infamously wiretapped in relation to the same investigation.
In early January, the Guardian reported that the FBI was being called upon to obtain Fisa warrants in order to wiretap Trump team communication, not once but twice.
The wiretapping activity reported by the left-leaning Guardian was, at the time, referenced in relation to the fake news Trump dossier by former UK spy Chris Steele :
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. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.
Adding more fuel to the truth of Trump’s claims, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau confirmed that Obama did not order the wiretap. Keyword is “order”:
I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) March 4, 2017
Favreau urged his twitter followers to read a thread that shows the prior existence of FISA-endorsed wiretaps…
Ok you definitely need to read this thread https://t.co/W7CkXjV40f
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) March 4, 2017
The Washington PostWhite House bureau chief, Philip Rucker also confirmed that Barack Obama spokesman’s statement does not deny the existence of wiretaps on Trump Tower, only that Obama did not approve them if they did exist…
The Obama statement does not say there was no federal wire tapping of Trump Tower. It only says Obama and White House didn’t order it.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) March 4, 2017
Finally David Axelrod tweeted…
If there were the wiretap @realDonaldTrump loudly alleges, such an extraordinary warrant would only have been OKed by a court for a reason.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 4, 2017
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