The latest Trump squirrel

So now Donald Trump is charging that last year his phones were illegally tapped by Barack Obama. It is now clear, thanks to the Edward Snowden revelations, that the Obama administration presided over a vast intelligence gathering operation that vacuumed up the communications of pretty much everyone, and it is undoubtedly the case that Trump’s communications are somewhere in the NSA computers storage facilities.

But did the Obama White House specifically target his phones to ‘tap’? If it was done ‘illegally’, as Trump charges, that would mean without the support of the FISA court. Otherwise, it would require a FISA warrant and that would require showing of probable cause to a panel of judges, though that court has been very deferential to such government requests. Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has denied that such a request was made though since he has previously lied under oath, his word does not count for much.

Apparently, lawyers in the White House are scrambling to find support for Trump’s assertions because it is now standard practice that Trump says whatever passes through his mind and the people around him then try to find support for it.

As Jon Schwarz keeps reminding us, they needn’t go to all that trouble. Trump has the power to declassify anything he wants and all he has to do his release the confidential information that supports his claims.


  1. says

    If it was done ‘illegally’, as Trump charges, that would mean without the support of the FISA court.

    Please don’t fall for the party line that the FISA court, etc, is “legal” (i.e.: constitutional) it is merely “the way things are” based on some interpretations of some laws. It’s not legal, in fact it was done the way it was done exactly because it wouldn’t have survived court review or public review.

    The other stuff Trump is talking is, of course, bullshit. Though I do find it bitterly amusing that Clapper is now saying “trust me…. I know Trump wasn’t tapped.” There is no measure of credibility fine enough to describe how little Clapper’s credibility is. He’s right down there with Trump. So when Clapper and Trump are calling eachother “liar” that means irony is dead.

  2. says

    Apparently this story popped into Trump’s head because of something he saw in Brietbart. So, why aren’t they just presenting the evidence from Brietbart?

    Oh, right.

  3. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    Of course the NSA is tapping Trump. They tap everyone, especially politicians, for future use. When the NSA needs more money, it always gets it. They learned the trick from J. Edgar Hoover.

  4. secondtofirstworld says

    @Marcus Ranum #2:

    Speaking of far-fetched, and a demand to provide evidence…the current PM of Japan has his own fair share of trustworthy sources, like the Okada family. They have a supra-religious sect, that started the more known belief, that Jesus went to Japan.

    I use the term more known, as that’s just the surface of the obscure. Apparently the also believe to be the actual Jewish people, and Hitler was a sun spirit, who was justified in committing genocide. To mention they all support rewriting history books should come as no surprise. So Breitbart has yet to learn on the BS scale to catch up with war profiteers, but as they saying goes, with friends like these…

    I’m more concerned with the lack of ideas on the part of think tanks not in Trump’s employ as to prevent such tirades. For instance, during Obama’s tenure the Secret Service had bouts with him over his Blackberry, yet now they can’t seem to force him to use the potus handle exclusively, seeing that copying or mocking Trump’s is humor, doing that to the potus would be a felony. It’s embarrassing how easily he can manipulate the news cycle, and yet nobody brings up, that Levin himself said he takes no responsibility as to what Trump says, which includes things he says based on Levin’s claims.

    It should have been shot down at the source, as Levin is not credible, and much like Trump, lives in a bubble. His ideas to purge activist judges and to shred the constitution are pointers in themselves that he’s not to be listened to.

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