“Secret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
The FBI reportedly applied for a secret warrant in June 2016 to monitor Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos and Flynn. If true, it means the FBI targeted Flynn six months before his much-debated conversation with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
The FBI applied four times to wiretap Page after he became a Trump campaign adviser starting in July 2016.
Electronic surveillance was used to listen in on three Trump transition officials in Trump Tower — Flynn, Bannon and Kushner — as they met in an official capacity with the United Arab Emirates’ crown prince.
The FBI also reportedly wiretapped Flynn’s phone conversation with Kislyak on Dec. 31, 2016, as part of “routine surveillance” of Kislyak.
Another controversial tool reportedly used by the FBI to obtain phone records and other documents in the investigation were national security letters, which bypass judicial approval.
“Unmasking” — identifying protected names of Americans captured by government surveillance — was frequently deployed by at least four top Obama officials who have subsequently spoken out against President Trump: James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence; Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Susan Rice, former national security adviser; Sally Yates, former deputy attorney general.
Names of Americans caught communicating with monitored foreign targets must be “masked,” or hidden within government agencies, so the names cannot be misused or shared.
However, it’s been revealed that Power made near-daily unmasking requests in 2016.
Prior to that revelation, Clapper claimed ignorance. When asked if he knew of unmasking requests by any ambassador, including Power, he testified: “I don’t know. Maybe it’s ringing a vague bell but I’m not — I could not answer with any confidence.”
Changing the rules
On Dec. 15, 2016 — the same day the government listened in on Trump officials at Trump Tower — Rice reportedly unmasked the names of Bannon, Kushner and Flynn. And Clapper made a new rule allowing the National Security Agency to widely disseminate surveillance material within the government without the normal privacy protections.
Former CIA Director John Brennan and Clapper, two of the most integral intel officials in this ongoing controversy, have joined national news organizations where they have regular opportunities to shape the news narrative — including on the very issues under investigation.
There’s been a steady and apparently orchestrated campaign of leaks — some true, some false, but nearly all of them damaging to President Trump’s interests.”
Besides Halper, Attkisson added James Comey’s buddy, Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor, who leaked the former FBI director’s memos to The New York Times. He’s a “special government employee” working for the FBI. And we know Comey leaked the memos in order to get a special counsel, who turned out to be Robert Mueller, appointed to investigate the collusion allegations, which was done via appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The Washington Times’ Larry O’Connor, who also quarterbacks the afternoon drive on weekdays for WMAL, had Attkisson on his program on May 23, to discuss her views on this investigation:
“You would not normally use a sledgehammer to kill an ant if you can wipe him off with a feather duster. Using surveillance inside a political campaign should be almost a last resort under our constitution. Spying on US citizens is something that is supposed to be almost never done and if done at all, is super justified and supervised. And, really, even more so if you’re talking about a political campaign or a journalist because of the potential that it looks like abuse or it could be abuse.”
Yet, there always seems to be one character that is left off the list for scrutiny: Barack Obama. All of this—the whole operation—occurred under his administration; his intelligence agents executed the plan, his DOJ/FBI was involved. What did Obama know and when did he know it?