Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson decided to offer her two-cents in light of the recent revelation that former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort was indeed wiretapped before and after the 2016 election. Mr. Manafort has a residence in Trump Tower, though it’s still unknown if any surveillance occurred there, but what is highly plausible is that conversations between him and Donald Trump were recorded, and we know that the FBI was monitoring the former campaign manager’s phone calls. The wiretaps were given the green light by the FISA court, which signs off on such surveillance activities in secret. Yes, it looks like the media is once again eating crow on the whole notion that there’s zero evidence to suggest Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. All of this occurred when Barack Obama was still president.
Attkisson also mentioned that the Obama administration also spied on her (allegedly), and that there seems to be a pattern ever since the intelligence collection protocols were changed by the Obama administration back in 2011. The journalist has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for the intrusion into her laptop, which she alleges involved a keystroke-monitoring program used by a U.S. intelligence service. In her op-ed, she also lists other people who have been spied on, some of whom are former members of Congress (via The Hill):
Intel agencies secretly monitored conversations of members of Congress while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.
In 2014, the CIA got caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, though CIA Director John Brennan had explicitly denied that.
There were also wiretaps on then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in 2011 under Obama. The same happened under President George W. Bush to former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.).
I have spent more than two years litigating against the Department of Justice for the computer intrusions. Forensics have revealed dates, times and methods of some of the illegal activities. The software used was proprietary to a federal intel agency. The intruders deployed a keystroke monitoring program, accessed the CBS News corporate computer system, listened in on my conversations by activating the computer’s microphone and used Skype to exfiltrate files.
We survived the government’s latest attempt to dismiss my lawsuit. There’s another hearing Friday. To date, the Trump Department of Justice — like the Obama Department of Justice — is fighting me in court and working to keep hidden the identities of those who accessed a government internet protocol address found in my computers.
It’s difficult not to see patterns in the government’s behavior, unless you’re wearing blinders.
- The intelligence community secretly expanded its authority in 2011 so it can monitor innocent U.S. citizens like you and me for doing nothing more than mentioning a target’s name a single time.
- In January 2016, a top-secret inspector general report found the NSA violated the very laws designed to prevent abuse.
- In 2016, Obama officials searched through intelligence on U.S. citizens a record 30,000 times, up from 9,500 in 2013.
- Two weeks before the election, at a secret hearing before the FISA court overseeing government surveillance, NSA officials confessed they’d violated privacy safeguards “with much greater frequency” than they’d admitted. The judge accused them of “institutional lack of candor” and said, “This is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”
Attkisson makes the point that yes, of course there are instances where wiretaps and unmasking of American identities caught up in intelligence surveillance must occur to protect national security interests, but what’s been unearthed over the past several months seems to be that community going off the reservation. These people aren’t elected, and they’re not constrained by the constitutional institutions aimed at keeping government power from going haywire (i.e. the courts). That makes for a very dangerous situation.
Life comes at you fast. pic.twitter.com/Js5iKqpy27— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 19, 2017