“Straight-up political surveillance”
The US Treasury Department was regularly spying on Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort Jr., senior staffers on the 2016 Trump campaign, members of the Trump family, and congressional lawmakers, according to The Tennessee Star‘s Neil W. McCabe.
“I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct,” a former senior Treasury Department official and veteran of the intelligence community told McCabe. “You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there,” she added.
The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”
By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.
“When I showed it to her, what she said, ‘Oh, sh%t!’ and I knew right then and there that I was right – this was some shady stuff,” the whistleblower said.
“It wasn’t just him,” the whistleblower said. “They were targeting other U.S. citizens, as well.” –The Tennessee Star
“Another thing they would do is take targeted names from a certain database – I cannot name, but you can guess – and they were going over to an unclassified database and they were running those names in the unclassified database,” she added.
The scheme allowed the perpetrators to circumvent classified avenues to surveil Americans. Once enough information had been gathered against a target, they would use a different type of search.
In March 2017, the whistleblower filed a complaint with Acting Treasury Inspector General Richard K. Delmar, who never followed up on the matter despite acknowledging receipt of the compaint. Prior to that, she filed an August 2016 notification which was rejected as it didn’t meet the requirements of a formal complaint.
In May 2017, she filed another complaint with the Office of Special Counsel.
This surveillance program was run out of Treasury’s Office of Intelligence Analysis, which was then under the leadership of S. Leslie Ireland. Ireland came to OIA in 2010 after a long tenure at the Central Intelligence Agency and a one-year stint as Obama’s daily in-person intelligence briefer.
The whistleblower said Treasury should never have been part of the unmasking of Flynn, because its surveillance operation was off-the-books. That is to say, the Justice Department never gave the required approval to the Treasury program, and so there were no guidelines, approvals nor reports that would be associated with a DOJ-sanctioned domestic surveillance operation. –The Tennessee Star
“Accessing this information without approved and signed attorney general guidelines would violate U.S. persons constitutional rights and civil liberties,” said the whistleblower, adding “IC agencies have to adhere to Executive Order 12333, or as it is known in the community: E.O. 12-Triple-Three. Just because OIA does not have signed guidelines does not give them the power or right to operate as they want, if you want information on a U.S. person then work with the FBI on a Title III, if it is a U.S. person involved with a foreign entity then follow the correct process for a FISA, but without signed AG guidelines you cannot even get started.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.