Wiretapping Obama officials suspicious from get-go

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

Comey at March 2017 hearingDespite passionate and continual denials fronted by current and former federal officials claiming that accusations made against the Obama administration for spying on Donald Trump and his presidential campaign were absolutely untrue, new reports indicate that ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort had been wiretapped.

In fact, former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper insisted that allegations made against the Obama administration for green-lighting wiretappings were lies – discounting Trump’s frustrations with the surveillance that he vented on Twitter.

“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect as a candidate or against his campaign,” Clapper told NBC’s Meet the Press in March.

Former FBI Director James Comey also denied such knowledge that month, as seen below.

Not so fast …

Recent developments, however, prove otherwise.

“But CNN’s revelation that the government did procure a FISA warrant against Manafort and conduct surveillance on him in 2016 and 2017 brings such denials under the spotlight once again,” WND reported. “Most importantly, did they lie?”

According to former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, the intricately scripted denials rehearsed by Clapper and other Obama officials during Trump’s first months in office allowed them to manipulate their messaging to cover things up.

“I always thought that the denials – as indignant as they were by people connected to the Obama administration and even from the Justice Department after Trump took it over – were always carefully couched and very narrow,” McCarthy told WND and Radio America. “What I took the denials to mean was that they were saying they never targeted Trump himself for surveillance, and even more specifically, that Obama did not do it.”

He saw right through all of the careful wording from the beginning.

“I always thought that was quite narrow because, as we know, the president does not go to the FISA court and get the authorization to do these surveillances, much less do the physical work to set up the surveillance himself,” McCarthy added. “I always thought that the loudness and indignation of the denials was much broader than what the denials actually said read carefully.”

More involved than we thought …

The spying apparently took place years before the presidential election.

“According to CNN’s reporting, Manafort was under surveillance from 2014 to early 2016, and again from late 2016 to sometime earlier this year – including at the time that Trump was president,” WND’s Greg Corombos pointed out. “At issue, according to sources, was Manafort’s cozy relationship with the ousted pro-Putin regime of Viktor Yanukovich in Ukraine, and ultimately whether he was tapping those connections to aid Trump’s campaign in any way.”

More specifically, the Left-leaning media hub indicated that there were multiple instances where Manafort was being tracked.

“CNN cited three unnamed sources allegedly familiar with government investigations into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” The Epoch Times noted. “The network states a secret order was given by a court that handles Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests after the FBI began investigating Manafort in 2014. CNN claims that the initial surveillance was canceled ‘at some point’ in 2016 due to ‘lack of evidence.’ It adds, however, that the FBI restarted its surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant, which extended into early 2017.”

Even though Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman from May through August 2016, the spying apparently took place well beyond the election and inauguration.

“CNN claims that ‘conversations between Manafort and Trump continued after the President took office,’ yet notes that it’s unclear whether the wiretap also picked up Trump in its surveillance,” the Epoch Times’ Joshua Philipp impressed. “[The network] states the first FISA request was in relation to work done by consulting firms for Ukraine’s former government, and claims the second warrant was part of the FBI’s Russia investigations.”

However, it is pointed out that the FISA warrant the government tried to obtain is nothing like the standard criminal search warrant familiar to most.

“You have to show there’s probable cause that the subject is an agent of a foreign power,” McCarthy explained to WND. “That’s importantly different from a criminal warrant. In a criminal case, you have to show that there’s probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed and that evidence of a crime is likely to be recovered in the place that you want to search.”

Out of bounds

It is argued that the entire wiretapping matter was handled inappropriately, as standard protocol was altogether ignored.

“McCarthy said the political circumstances surrounding the case should not impact the enforcement of the law, but he said there is usually great sensitivity exercised when political events could be impacted,” Corombos informed. “As a result, this decision should have been deliberated at the highest levels of government.”

Standard procedures were obviously not taken by Obama officials in the matter.

“That gets scrutinized, not only much more carefully at the FISA court, (but) it also should be scrutinized very heavily in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the upper ranks of the administration before you would even go to the FISA court to seek the surveillance,” McCarthy insisted.

Another news source for the Left is adding to the narrative on the scandal.

“The New York Times is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller is using ‘shock and awe’ tactics, meaning he is threatening witnesses with considerable punishment for not cooperating fully with the Mueller team,” Corombos pointed out. “McCarthy says America already saw that when the FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid of Manafort’s Virginia home in July. He pointed out that any raid conducted before 6 a.m. and allowing agents to pick the locks at a home require special permission from the court.”

Much attention is put on the timing of the FBI’s physical raid on Manafort’s home.

“The search warrant that Mueller did came on the day after Manafort met with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators and on the very day he was supposed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” McCarthy stressed to WND.

This could mean one of several things.

“McCarthy suspects there could be multiple motives at work,” Corombos noted. “One is simply that investigators are eager to determine exactly how much Russia did to influence the 2016 elections, which he believes is warranted. However, in a politically charged atmosphere like Washington, he said some could be trying to make whatever evidence is in hand fit a political goal.”

Yet the Left is not expected to give up on its narrative that Trump’s underhanded ties with Russia to turn the election should be the focus.

“I think there are other people looking to cement a political narrative that it was Trump collusion and Russian espionage that cost Hillary Clinton the election,” McCarthy expressed. “There’s all kinds of factors and considerations that go into it. But, certainly, Manafort and his prior connection to this Ukrainian faction gives a lot of ammunition to the investigators.”

In the face of the mounting evidence stacking up against former Obama officials, James Comey disavowed – under oath – any knowledge of surveillance on Trump and his presidential campaign team earlier this year.

“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,” the former FBI director told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence back in March, according to a press release issued by the House.

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