About Those FISA Denials

If it be war they want, then let them have it:

Yes, he went there.  After enduring eight endless years of Obama Administration shenanigans, he went there.  After watching Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch throughly corrupt the Justice Department, he went there.  And after witnessing the IRS targeting the president’s political enemies, he went there.

You gotta hand it to Donald Trump.  When he does something, he goes in big.

With a Category Five tweetstorm, Trump excoriated the previous administration for using the intelligence apparatus of the United States government to target him for political reasons.  What’s really amazing in all this is how Trump singled out Obama personally, which is just not done in polite Washington society.  Most Trump fans, though, would probably beg to differ, in between high-fiving each other and saying that it’s about damn time.  With Obama and his minions mounting what is, for all intents and purposes, a silent coup against the president, it’s clear that the old rules no longer apply.  In fact, they’ve been shredded, burned and the ashes salted to keep them from ever coming back.

Naturally, former Obama officials are crawling out of the woodwork to deny any such thing happened.  Among them, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who talked to Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press:

Todd: Let me start with the President’s tweets yesterday, this idea that maybe President Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of his offices. If something like that happened would this be something you would be aware of?


Clapper: I would certainly hope so. I can say… Obviously I can’t speak officially anymore but I will say for the part of the national security aperatus that I oversaw as DNI there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President, the President-Elect at the time or as candidate or against his campaign. I can’t speak for other Title III authorized entities in the government or state or local entities.


Todd: I was just going to say, if the FBI for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?


Clapper: I would know that.


Todd: If there was a FISA court order. . .on something like this?


Clapper: Something like this absolutely.


Todd: And at this point you can’t confirm or deny whether that exists?


Clapper: I can deny it


Todd: There is no FISA court order?


Clapper: Not to my knowledge.

Not to my knowledge is politician speak for, “I want to sound like I’m denying something without really denying it.”

At any rate, Clapper is a known perjurer, so you can take anything he says for what it’s worth.  But note that even his statements above are contradictory.  In one answer, he says he “would certainly hope” that he would have been aware of any wiretapping of Donald Trump during the campiagn.  Then he immediately turns around and says flatly, “I would know that.”  But finally, in the end, he leaves us with, “Not to my knowledge.”  Which one is it?

Then there’s this, from Ben Rhodes, the Iran Deal toady:

Um, except that’s not true.  Then there’s this, from Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis:

A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.  As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

Again, note how this statement is so carefully parsed, by the time you pick it apart you could just as easily end up with a recipe for guacamole.  So it’s a “cardinal rule” not to interfere?  That’s not a denial that the rule was ever broken.  And even if Obama never personally ordered any surveillance, that doesn’t mean it never took place.  After all, I’m quite sure Obama never ordered Lois Lerner to hassle Tea Party groups on their tax-exempt status, either–but it happened anyway.  There are some things that the president never needs to say out loud.

Even taking all the denials into account, though, it’s fast becoming pretty obvious that some kind of surveillance occurred (and if you won’t take my word for it, check with Mike Mukasey).  Mark Levin has a pretty good roundup of the proof, which he put together using mainstream media reports–so it’s not like he was relying on sources sympathetic to Donald Trump.  If anybody still has doubts, however, also bear in mind that the Obama administration admittedly bugged the phones of journalists at Fox News and the AP during a leak investigation.  And journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who was a known thorn in Obama’s side, has even sued the Justice Department after claiming that it had hacked her computer.

Taking all this into consideration, is it really such a stretch that Obama might have had Trump bugged?  I don’t think so.  I also don’t hold out much hope that Obama himself will ever be personally connected to this.  There are simply too many layers between him and the actual deed, too many cut-outs who did the actual dirty work, that he’ll always find a way to slink his way out of legal trouble.  But if Trump’s Justice Department can blow the lid off these sleazy practices and put a big stain on Obama’s reputation, they will still have performed a valuable service.

About the author

Marc Giller

View all posts