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19 September 2017

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notlurking

But yet Trump has done nothing to stop the snooping on American citizens......

Fred

notlurking,

Well you are right he has not fired all those Obama people and look what he got for firing Comey.

Fred

Trump can't be the only one wiretapped. I wonder what is in my Stassi Obama file?

Fredw

Not sure of the precise the precise wording of claims and counterclaims. I have all along been reading speculation that even if Trump himself was not wiretapped, there were plenty of strong candidates in Trump Tower for FISA warrants. "Loaded with Russian mafia" was the general tenor. I am looking to see what was actually said last winter, but specificity is not one the strong points of American media.

Tyler

Remember when the media had a big John Oliver yuck fest about this, which became semantics games where anything less than Obama crawling through Trump Tower with a stethoscope wasn't wire tapping and now...this?

Fred

FredW,

How many Democrats were "strong candidates" for FISA warrants? What is the criteria, other than innuendo like "loaded with Russian mafia"?

Nick

Sir-

With respect, Trump implied or asserted that Obama had illegally ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower. This appears to be legal, FISA court-ordered surveillance. A healthy debate can be had as to whether FISA is abused, or the extent to which secret courts are necessary or healthy for our democracy, but to suggest that Obama himself was overstepping his bounds by personally ordering this surveillance is not supported by the reporting currently in the public sphere.

Fredw

From the Politfact time line: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/mar/21/timeline-donald-trumps-false-wiretapping-charge/

March 5, Trump: "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

March 5, Clapper: "Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appears on NBC’s Meet the Press and says no wiretap activity was mounted against Trump while Clapper oversaw the national security apparatus."

But OK that's Clapper. Wouldn't bet anything significant on anything he says.

March 13, Spicer: "The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities during that," Spicer says, adding, "there is no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 elections."

But OK that somebody with even less credibility. And in any case, when you boil down the verbiage it doesn't actually say anything.

March 16, Spicer: "Spicer suggests Obama didn’t use American intelligence services, but instead the British intelligence agency GCHQ through which "he was able to get it and there’s no American fingerprints on this." Spicer quotes Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano, a judicial analyst, who made the allegations the night before, citing unnamed sources."

This is getting pretty far from the original claim.

March 20, Comey: "With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey said. "The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets."

So far I haven't found anything about wiretapping Manafort that contradicts the wiretapping denials. You have to parse the words fairly closely, but that is normal.

What the story does do is to contradict the media story line, but that was, as usual, always a fantasy taken far past the facts.

I am open to contradictory evidence, but so far this has come down pretty much as I always thought it would.

turcopolier

nick

My God! Do you really condone the wiretapping of political opponents during a campaign and then hide behind the FISA Act? What greater political corruption could there be other than to simply have them arrested to win the election for HC? Ah! Yes, that's what the "resistance" wants now. They are desperately hoping for Mueller to take care of that for them. pl

The Twisted Genius

There's still nothing here about Trump's phone or Trump Tower being wiretapped. It's all about Manafort's smartphone being turned into a wire through a SS7 "feature" and FISA court authorized wiretapping order. Not sure if the original tapping was due to a criminal suspicion or a CI suspicion, but the last reauthorization was CI in nature and based on possible ties to Russian intelligence. Seems like the same SS7 trick that was used on the Russian Ambassador's phone. I'm sure theses aren't the only two who had their phones turned into wires. I don't know why anybody to wants to keep secrets would carry such infernal devices.

Fredw

The implementation of the FISA act is an abomination. Arguably a necessary one. But when you have something that poorly constructed, complaining about the effects is pointless. Especially since the evidence does not actually establish a political use of the mechanism. (It never will if the perpetrators possess even a particle of competence.) The whole thing rests on a foundation of trust. And the people we are talking about are almost never trustworthy in any administration.

Tyler

Nick,

Whoa right on time! Obama with a stethoscope semantics games, right on cue.

You're gonna hate the new rules when wiretapping political opponents is okay cause "muh FISA".

Oilman2

I am very sure that in Costa Rica alone there are many transcripts of things that would be considered most illegal here in the USA. To think that any conversation or email trail of a "person of interest" is not recorded somewhere offshore is just damned foolish and terribly ignorant. There is a US-oriented reason for the diameter of the fiber optic cables in Costa Rica. What we are told via the media and alphabet agency sources is just the tip of the iceberg.

Go have a beer with some of the ex-spooks in Costa Rica - it is most enlightening.

JamesT

Nick

I don't think you should convolute "implied" with "asserted". Furthermore, it was the mainstream media which interpreted Trump's artfully vague tweet as asserting that the wiretap was illegal. That was putting words in his mouth. Trump likes to be vague, and the MSM like to interpret his words in the worst possible way - then insist that their interpetation is some sort of self evident obective truth.

ked

If Manafort was engaged in espionage or some "high crime" of international financial conspiracy should he be untouchable because he was part of a political campaign in the US?

Trump plays fast & loose with the meaning of things... like words, but (as we all know) in law specific details matter, or at least supposed-to.

I think Trump has long known that he's in deep trouble from going way-back, and his rhetoric (guided by the spirit of Roy Cohn) has been to attack attack attack. It has long worked - so much so that no one in the USA would touch him when he needed $$$ to keep his real estate empire afloat.

Being excessively consumed by media reactions (from Fox to MSNBC and all the mediocrity in between) is a sideshow, though an entertaining one.

Annem

According to the same press coverage, Manafort was being wiretapped since 2014, BEFORE the Trump campaign and the reason was related to his ties to then Ukrainian President Yanakovich. It was, I believe, the same issue of not registering as a foreign agent. Given Yanakovich's close ties to Putin, that led the investigation to cover Russia as well. The US, of course, was supportive of the overthrow of that Ukrainian government and the installation of a new one. The significance here is that the wiretapping continued "off and on" for the coming years.

turcopolier

ked

Yes, an opposing campaign worker should be exempt from the use of government police powers during a campaign. If that is not so, then we are just another tin pot dictatorship in which the faction in power uses the state to maintain its power. As for your hope/belief thatTrump has been a criminal agent of influence of Russia for a long time, there is no evidence whatever for that. If tere is, let Mueller produce it. i am far more concerned with the jingo belligerence of Trump's remardks to the General Assembly today and his faithful adherence to Israel (a foreign power) desires with regard to US willingness to fight the Iranians for them. pl

turcopolier

fredw

The issue of the FISA intercept warrants and the issue of soliciting foreign intelligence regurgitation of material useful against Trump are two separate issues. pl

Green Zone Café

Events are proceeding in accordance with my prediction that Trump will be gone by June 30, 2018.

Mueller will squeeze Manafort and more. They will rat on Trump to preserve their lives.

It won't make any difference whether what they say is true or not. It only has to be credible.

Gary Hamm

Some contents of the secret electronic eavesdropping were leaked to WP & NYT. And while these tidbits were pushed as damning, they seemed innocuous to me. I can assume the rest stuff they have not leaked is even more innocuous if not exculpatory.

I now have zero trust that there are any good, moral guys in Deep State. Philip Giraldi said that he is regularly visited by the FBI (he said this today in the comments section of his article over at unz.com). No doubt Col. Lang is closely watched by Deep State. Most all of the others from the upper levels of the IC/MIC have sold their souls for sinecures in the Military-Security-NGO-Industrial Complex.

Bill Herschel

Which kind of raises the question, "How did Trump know Manafort's phone had been wiretapped?"

Because that seems to be what happened. The comments here seem to stipulate that this was a Manafort thing.

Yet, Trump knew. How did he know?

Which brings us to the Russian Ambassador. Are we to believe that he was tapped because he was using a cellphone which he did not understand could be used to tap him, a cellphone using technology from 1975 that was a standard? A lot of people have made the mistake of thinking the Russians are stupid. That stupid? The Russian Ambassador to the United States carries on secret conversations on a radio transceiver that uses standard, penetrable technology 40 years old?

I personally believe Trump has a complicated and subservient relationship with Russians. I believe Russia did attempt to help him win the election. I even believe that some of what they did could have been illegal. But for anyone in the U.S. to turn around and say that what the U.S. has been doing in other sovereign states for decades and decades (cf. Ukraine and Russia as recent examples) is somehow against the laws of God and man, is laughable. What did we expect? What is more, Trump did not win the election on account of Russians. He won the election because the median income of working males in the United States has declined since the 60's. Emphasis *median*. Income is up, median income is down. Enter Trump.

Obama? Obama broke an unwritten political campaign law? Well, then he should be prosecuted, and the Mueller investigation will definitely bring this out.

LeaNder

maybe alarming (causing concern), but unexpected? Did I misread his foreign policy speech?

ked

I do not know (or even particularly care) if Trump has been an agent of Russian influence, even if the Russians think so. He's an agent only of his own self. Ultimately, no one wants his help - he's too flaky & selfish. At best one may only manipulate him for one-time use, like a burner phone.

My opinion is he owes $$$ to Russian oligarchs ("gangsters") and that haunts him - even if it isn't an impeachable offence (whatever the heck THAT is these days). If a crime has been committed ("or evidence adequate for an indictment..."), we'll find out eventually... big damn deal / what's it matter? Now, I don't think he'll be impeached (say, 15%, but maybe 30% he'll leave office). He's too valuable to all sides as an excuse or lightening rod... or a career-maker for whoever claims him in Russia (or pick your favorite players in SA, Israel, China).

And you are damn right about jingoism. I hope he doesn't conflate his deep fear of exposure / inadequacy with his power to start a coupla more wars. My own fear is that he cannot distinguish between the end of HIS world and THE world.

Anna

What have the personalities of Manafort and Trump to do with the US Constitution?
To entertain you more, Obama has been the most pronounced Fraud in the US history. At least Bush the Lesser was obvious.

Tidewater

Tidewater says,

This brings us back to Christopher Steele. Remember some things about him. His cover was blown in Moscow in 1996 and he was yanked out. He continued to work for SIS based out of London. In 2006 he was involved in an embarrassing failure in Moscow--the use of fake rocks as dead drops. (He was also deeply involved in the Litvinenko case.) MI6 seems to have let him go after this. He started an intelligence-gathering company, Orbis. He created the so-called dossier on Trump, which used Russian informers, though he had not been in Russia for ten years. That he could not have known his agents very well was one immediate reservation about his dossier. There was a great deal more. One source, Sergei Millian, was considered unreliable. The report was passed around D.C. like a hot potato. There were way too many problems. Then Steele shopped it to the FBI, who told him he would be paid $50,000 for it if he could give them appropriate supporting evidence as to its accuracy. Apparently, Steele could not. They did not pay him. From this one can infer that the FBI, like so many other players in the business, believed it to be suspect, very poor intelligence, not credible.

Now here's what I want to know. Is it true that the FBI used the Steele dossier as probable cause to obtain a FISA warrant from a federal judge? I think that the FBI did do this. The warrant was one of many FISA warrants, not just one. We know this from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. The Steele dossier was one of a number of accusations that provided enough to get a warrant on Carter Page. Page did have business interests in Russia. But he had no real role in the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, he surely must have been surveilled in a number of disturbing ways. And once in the door, just as in the case of the Clinton home internet server and various Clinton operative cell phones, by persons unknown, as in the case of Victoria Nuland in Kiev, many different intercepts could be made by the FBI from any phone calls. There must have been people blown all over Kiev from the Nuland intercepts.

That the FBI would use the Steele dossier to get the pump primed seems to me to be stooping very low indeed. It echoes of the Plame affair; the Mohamed Atta Prague meeting; the Iraqi aluminum tubes business. All were shaky, flaky, intelligence with stink all over them that amounted to deception. And now, if you go back to Comey's testimony in which, among other things, he keeps repeating that he "has no information" to support Trump's wire-tapping tweets, and you notice the phrasing, how very precisely he focusses on the "tweets"-- you can see that this man, one of the chief law-enforcement officers in the country, the very symbol of integrity, is using weasel words. Trump's tweets--the allegations were colloquially expressed and very broadly, even eccentrically, stated. Nonetheless, there was substance to them, and the response of Comey, which has been presumed to be the honest denial by a straight arrow kind of a guy, now makes him seem more and more like some sort of a slick Willy ink-blowing cuttlefish.

I would think the federal judiciary would be greatly interested in this. Surely there is some power that oversees the propriety and integrity of the process by which warrants are handed down by these secret courts.

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