The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersRussian Reaction Blog
The Wiretap Wiretrap
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Trump is a virtuoso at playing the media.

He mentioned he’d ban the burning of the American flag – the media rushed to show Leftists burning the American flag. He promoted the observation that many hate crimes were hoaxes – soon after, it emerged that the author of the threats against Jewish centers was a Black social justice writer for The Intercept who had been fired for making up sources. He claimed you wouldn’t believe what had happened in Sweden yesterday – we couldn’t believe what happened to Sweden tomorrow.

Bearing in mind the MSM’s consistency in “misunderestimating” Trump’s wiles, let’s move on to #Wiretapgate.

On March 4, Trump claimed that President Obama was “tapping” his phones in October, turbocharging the political scandal around his administration.

Here is a summary of the key elements, based upon this timeline compiled by Mark Levin and Joel Pollack:

  • Obama had drilled little holes all over the ship of state by “expanding the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections” in January as his parting gift to Trump, ensuring the new administration would be inundated with leaks.
  • New York Times report in January that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Treasury Department were monitoring “several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties,” and later reports in February that the FBI had “intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn” and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  • Levin summarizes: “T he Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.

Barack Obama’s spokesman has denied this in legalistic terms:

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 of any US citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

As Alexander Mercouris points out, this “does not deny that Donald Trump’s office in Trump Tower was wiretapped,” nor that his “‘associates’ (a flexible word the precise meaning of which has never been made clear) or members of his campaign team were placed under surveillance.” I would further emphasize that Obama specifically referred to “US citizens,” whereas no such protections apply to foreign citizens, and indeed we know from the Snowden leaks that it is standard strategy for the NSA to circumvent Americans’ protections by listening to American citizens’ communications with foreigners and by closely cooperating with allied foreign intelligence services, especially those of the Five Eyes (incidentally, Britain has figured prominently in this affair, from Christopher Steele’s dodgy dossier to the recent NYT article which claimed that some of the intelligence linking people in the Trump campaign and various Russians came from British and Dutch intelligence).

A further problem is that the net is cast so wide that, as the NYT inadventently admits, virtually any Russian in America with a non-hostile relationship to the Putin government is considered suspect:

The label “intelligence official” is not always cleanly applied in Russia, where ex-spies, oligarchs and government officials often report back to the intelligence services and elsewhere in the Kremlin. Steven L. Hall, the former head of Russia operations at the C.I.A., said that Mr. Putin was surrounded by a cast of characters, and that it was “fair to say that a good number of them come from an intelligence or security background. Once an intel guy, always an intel guy in Russia.”

Again, as Alexander Mercouris points out, this would encompass many of Trump’s people who have had perfectly legal and transparent business relationships with Russia, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Furthermore, I would add that by this standard a huge percentage of the US government would be compromised, since promoting US-Russia business ties has been a plank of US diplomacy until 2014 (ironically, as I pointed out a year ago, Mitt Romney, who is coldly disposed to Trump and called Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” probably actually had considerably more substantive business dealings in Russia than Trumputin himself).

To be sure, Trump’s claim on Twitter, at least, is likely false. But it does not appear to be a lie borne out of his idiocy, stress, fury, narcissism, or whatever the MSM’s latest projection consists of.

Consider the following: Trump has successfully whipped the media into a feeding frenzy, focusing the public’s attention on this in a way that acting low-key could never have. And the reality for the Establishment appears to be bad enough. Continuing to assume that there is no substantive meat to the ROG (Russian Occupation Government) conspiracy theory, what we are left with is a scandal of at least Watergate proportions, if not more so – as Alexander Mercouris points out, whereas under Nixon the scandal was that the CIA and FBI had refused to do his bidding against his political opponents, here you would have the even more egregious case of the US security agencies colluding against Trump by “carrying out surveillance upon him and his associates though there has never been any evidence that either he or they did anything wrong.”

This is the real story and I suspect we are soon going to see its denouement.

 
Hide 8 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. I would add that by this standard a huge percentage of the US government would be compromised, since promoting US-Russia business ties has been a plank of US diplomacy until 2014 (ironically, as I pointed out a year ago, Mitt Romney, who is coldly disposed to Trump and called Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” probably actually had considerably more substantive business dealings in Russia than Trumputin himself).

    And then, of course, we have hypocrite Hillary’s uranium deal with Russia: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html?_r=1

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /akarlin/trumps-wiretrap/#comment-1789995
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. neutral says:

    that there is no substantive meat to the ROG (Russian Occupation Government) conspiracy theory

    There is however a lot of real meat to the ZOG conspiracy theories, which the media strangely never ever wants to discuss.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  3. notanon says:

    i’m hoping the people behind this are the elements who helped arm Isis so if it all fully unravels McCain etc might end up gone for good

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  4. But are the House/Senate GOP going to take on the neocon deep state?

    Who among them could be a Sam Ervin de nos jours?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon

    But are the House/Senate GOP going to take on the neocon deep state?
     
    Rationally no but one of the things i discovered about politics is there's lots of people on the same side who really hate each other for purely personal reasons.

    So for example it could be someone who doesn't care about the issue either way but hates McCain for his nasty mouth and would like to see him carried off to jail.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. fnn says:

    Michael Tracey’s twitter feed is a good place for news on the D’s anti-Russian hysteria:

    Anyone who thinks Democrats' Russia mania won't have long-lasting consequences beyond scoring points on Trump, read: https://t.co/hBYPEzyTQB pic.twitter.com/6V7H9EwPRY— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) March 6, 2017

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  6. Ben Frank says:

    Follow the money. Only China gains from hysterical slanders about the President and Russia.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  7. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @jimmyriddle
    But are the House/Senate GOP going to take on the neocon deep state?

    Who among them could be a Sam Ervin de nos jours?

    But are the House/Senate GOP going to take on the neocon deep state?

    Rationally no but one of the things i discovered about politics is there’s lots of people on the same side who really hate each other for purely personal reasons.

    So for example it could be someone who doesn’t care about the issue either way but hates McCain for his nasty mouth and would like to see him carried off to jail.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. Sean says:

    There is only one danger for Trump: being precipitated into ordering surveillance on the nomenklatura. That is what they hostile commentators are trying to achieve. It is the only thing they could achieve now.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Anatoly Karlin Comments via RSS
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation