President Trump was widely mocked when he claimed the Obama Administration had wiretapped Trump Tower.
But his claims weren’t far from the mark, and we have since discovered that yes, the Obama Administration spied on members of the Trump team in the months leading up to the election.
Former CIA officer Col. Tony Shaffer says the incident is “worse than Watergate.”
“The president had a very legitimate case to make,” said New York Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “He overstepped it by saying President Obama ordered wiretapping. That we don’t know, but what we do know is to me this is shameful,” he said following his committee’s report on the matter.
Members of our former president’s administration claim they were conducting an operation focused on foreign persons who had referenced members of Trump’s team, and that intel on these individuals was gathered incidentally as part of the larger investigation.
According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who saw the classified information, the documents consisted of “details about US persons associated with the incoming administration – details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value – (which) were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”
According to federal law, incidental information collected about US citizens must be destroyed.
“Any time your name comes up, it’s supposed to be masked,” explains King. “Reports were written with names of these people and details.”
The fact that Gen. Michael Flynn’s name came up was “accidental on purpose,” argues Shaffer. “Clearly they were after gossip because it was political.”
Even if the original surveillance operation was legitimate, the “unmasking” of people’s names and the leaking of that information are felonies.
Evelyn Farkas, who served under Obama as the Defense Department’s top Russia expert, has confirmed that our former president’s administration illegally spied on Trump and his transition team for political purposes.
Farkas said the information was collected for national security reasons, but this claim just doesn’t hold up.
“I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration,” Farkas told MSNBC.
She also admitted to sharing the classified information with as many people as possible:
“…the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about…the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to the intelligence. So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more.”
Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and Former DNI James Clapper have both seen the classified information. Both have stated they see no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia.
Farkas never should have had access to classified information about members of the Trump team in the first place. She was working with the defense department, and therefore should not have been involved in any sort of FBI investigation.
On top of that, any intelligence gathered on American citizens would be illegal without a court warrant. FBI Director Comey has already said there was no warrant.
On March 22nd, Nunes declared the House Intelligence Committee would “thoroughly investigate this surveillance (by the Obama Administration) and its subsequent dissemination to determine” answers to questions including “who was aware of it,” “why it was not disclosed to Congress,” “who requested and authorized the additional unmasking” and “whether any laws, regulations, or procedures were violated.”
Editor’s note: Watergate was about rogue Nixon supporters doing a break-in and Nixon’s cover up. Nixon didn’t know until after the fact. Today’s situation is about a presidential administration using government resources to spy on a campaign, eye open and with intent. This is much worse than Watergate.