Ever since President Donald Trump accused former President Obama of tapping his phones prior to his election, the media has been desperately searching for evidence proving that this is true
One of the most common arguments by Democrats in defense of the Obama administration is that a president can’t order a wiretap.
“No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you,” tweeted Ben Rhodes, the former deputy National Security Advisor to Obama. He also called the president “a liar” and ironically said he was disrespectful for calling his predecessor a “Bad (or sick) guy.”
However, multiple sources are pointing out that Rhodes is wrong.
“(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…” according to the Chaptter 36 of Title 50 of the US Code “War and National Defense,” subchapter 1, section 1802.
This especially applies to the allegations of Trump being tied to Russian entities prior to the election.
“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,” The Guardian reported in early January.
Although, Democrats have been careful to not point a finger at Obama specifically. Jon Favreau, former speech writer of Obama, pointed out that the former president didn’t deny the wiretapping, he just denied ordering it.
“I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it,” tweeted Favreau.
Philip Rucker, the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post pointed out the same thing.
“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,” tweeted Rucker.
Nonetheless, it was Obama’s administration and this scandal is being dubbed as “Obamagate.”
Wire-tapping was a common occurrence by the administration and WikiLeaks proved it late last month.
“Today, 23 February 2016 at 00:00 GMT [updated 12:20 GMT], WikiLeaks publishes highly classified documents showing that the US National Security Agency bugged a private climate change strategy meeting; between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin; singled out the Chief of Staff of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for long term interception targeting his Swiss phone; singled out the Director of the Rules Division of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Johann Human, and targetted his Swiss phone for long term interception; stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relationship with US President Barack Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu; intercepted top EU and Japanese trade ministers discussing their secret strategy and red lines to stop the US “extort[ing]” them at the WTO Doha arounds (the talks subsequently collapsed); explicitly targetted five other top EU economic officials for long term interception, including their French, Austrian and Belgium phone numbers; explicitly targetted the phones of Italy’s ambassador to NATO and other top Italian officials for long term interception; and intercepted details of a critical private meeting between then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel and Berluscon, where the latter was told the Italian banking system was ready to “pop like a cork,” according to WikiLeaks on February 23.
Then WikiLeaks posted a warrant showing that the Obama administration spied on their reporters too.
“Did Obama spy on @realDonaldTrump‘s campaign? Here is proof the Obama administration spied on our journalists,” tweeted WikiLeaks with the document.
This proves Obama and his former team is no stranger to tapping into other’s private communications.
So like deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on ABC’s The Week, Trump didn’t make this accusation up.
“Everybody acts like President Trump is the one that came up with this idea and just threw it out there,” said Sanders on March 5. “There are multiple news outlets that have reported this.”
“The FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counterintelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia,” writes HeatStreet.
Could this be the beginning of the biggest scandal since “Watergate?”
According to the New York Times on Saturday, Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel is trying to secure access to a document proving that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorized surveillance on Trump’s team. This would be the ultimate sound proof.