Wiretapping and the Trump-Putin connection

Congressional hearings are establishing that there is no evidence that President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Donald Trump.  They are also establishing that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  Former director of National Intelligence Gen. James Clapper has said he saw no evidence of Russia-Trump collusion.  Former acting CIA director Michael Morell, who once claimed that "in the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation," now claims, "There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark.  And there's a lot of people looking for it."  "A lot of people" includes the FBI, the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Treasury Department's financial crimes unit.  These former promoters of the claim that Putin put Trump in the White House appear confident, considering the fact that the investigation is reportedly still ongoing.  There is something suspicious about their absolute confidence.

What "evidence" they apparently had was a dossier supposedly compiled by a former British intelligence agent.  This dossier is such an amateurish job that only someone like John McCain would find it believable.  Even when intelligence officials tipped off Vice President Biden about the dossier, Biden told reporters he didn't think the information was worth a second glance.  Could the Russians have compromising information on Hillary Clinton?  Apparently, they had emails that included more than wedding plans and yoga lessons.

While many crimes are alleged, only one crime has been positively committed.  Classified information has been leaked to the press.  However, there does not appear to be much interest in locating the perpetrators.  These leaks are felonies punishable by up to ten years in prison.  FBI director Comey would not commit to investigating these leaks.  Congressman Gowdy claimed, "I think the most troubling part for me is when Director Comey would not assure us that there's a leak investigation."

The claim that Trump was not wiretapped is a little far-fetched.  General Flynn, Angela Merkel, and several others are known to have been "wiretapped."  The NSA seems to be collecting electronic communications from millions of people.  Comey has pointed out that President Obama could not "wiretap" Donald Trump because it is illegal.  It would not be necessary for Obama to order such a program.  It is unlikely that he instructed Lois Lerner to target the Tea Party.  On Jan. 20, 2017, an article in the New York Time was headlined "Wiretapped Data Used In Inquiry of Trump Aides."  The article claimed, "[S]ome of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House."

People claiming that there was no wiretapping qualify their statements as a form of insurance.  Paul Ryan claimed, "I've seen no evidence wiretap occurred."  Where has he looked?  Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said, "Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016."  The qualifying phrases are "Based on the information available to us" and "any element of the United States government."

These investigations may reveal much more than the government is willing to expose.  Judge Andrew Napolitano stated that three intelligence sources informed him that British intelligence passed along surveillance data on Trump.  For this he was abruptly fired.  A CNN commentator interviewed one of the judge's sources, former CIA analyst Larry Johnson.  Johnson stated that GCHQ was passing information gained from "wiretapping" Trump Tower.  GCHQ, Government Communications Headquarters, is the British equivalent to the U.S. NSA.

Donald Trump is often careless in his wording.  This is not a polite way of saying that he lies.  He, like all politicians, lies.  He is not precise in his wording, and his words are easily distorted.  Some people interpret this as the result of a lack of intelligence.  They do this at their peril.  Trump has repeatedly outmaneuvered his opponents at every turn.  His manner of speaking is all part of his negotiating technique.  People do not become billionaires by accident.  When the final contract is signed, it will be the most advantageous for his position.  Trump's opponents in government and the media are putting all their eggs in one basket.  When it is revealed that Trump was "wiretapped" and was not put into the White House by Putin, they will lose what is left of their credibility.

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, Algora Publishing, 2013.

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