18 questions for Obama on Trump-Russia collusion
Why won't reporters actually ask relevant questions?
Consider this: The New York Times reports that the Obama administration "scrambled" to leave a "trail of breadcrumbs" of "evidence" about Trump-Russia connection. According to the now widely distributed report, in the closing days of the Obama administration, immediately before the inauguration, suspecting, but not yet having any hard "evidence" of, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, the Obama administration spread classified information of admittedly irrelevant contacts and communication as widely as possible across the government and shared a dossier marked "secret" with Congress. The administration shared not "evidence" of collusion, but evidence of contacts and communications.
I have several questions I wish someone would ask:
- Did these efforts include changing privacy and due process rules governing FISA-permitted investigations, unwittingly intercepting communications involving U.S. citizens (which requires scrupulous protection of the identity of U.S. citizens inadvertently intercepted without a warrant or independent probable cause)?
- Did this effort lead to intentional or unintentional dissemination to persons without clearance?
- Was consideration given to the fact that spreading information so broadly might encourage leaking of the information, since compartmentalization and limitation practices designed to prevent leaking were abrogated?
- Was consideration given to the possibility that leaking dubious information without conclusive proof might make it impossible to hold leakers and those making hasty generalizations from incomplete information responsible?
- Did the effort create a chatter about collusion that, although devoid of evidence, suggested to actors that someone somewhere must have evidence supporting the conclusion, given the wide dissemination of inconclusive data, thereby creating a fraudulent and false narrative?
- Is it possible that the broad dissemination of such information was intentionally designed to encourage leaks, protect leakers from discovery, or create a false narrative?
- Who in the Obama administration participated in this exercise, who authorized it, and who was briefed regarding the effort?
- Were there detractors from the effort, and if so, who?
- How was the effort communicated to subordinates, and did the communication come with the rationale for the effort, the rationale of which was widely reported as coming from "three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence"?
- Were the three former officials in the White House prior to the transition?
- Were the three former officials in the government at the time the information was disseminated?
- Were the three former officials authorized at any time to receive classified information?
- Who in Congress was given the file marked "secret"?
- Why was the file marked "secret"?
- Was the material contained in the file raw or redacted, and was it marked "classified"?
- Was the higher designation "secret" – suggesting that the dissemination of the information was potentially "seriously damaging," to national security – selected to elevate the gravity attached to ordinary or routine contacts and communication, thereby suggesting collusion for which there is apparently still no proof?
- Why was any effort necessary at all, since it would take only one person in authority to upload all of the intelligence to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American analysts to share information, thereby forever preserving it?
- Why haven't any of these relevant questions been asked of senior Obama administration officials?
Is it possible that just one question might reveal the implausibility of the motivation behind the entire effort?