Obama Advisor Rhodes Is Wrong: The President Can Order A Wiretap, And Why Trump May Have The Last Laugh

Tyler Durden's picture

Following Trump's stunning allegation that Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower in October of 2016, prior to the presidential election, which may or may not have been sourced from a Breitbart story, numerous Democrats and media pundits have come out with scathing accusations that Trump is either mentally disturbed, or simply has no idea what he is talking about.

The best example of this came from Ben Rhodes, a former senior adviser to President Obama in his role as deputy National Security Advisor, who slammed Trump's accusation, insisting that "No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you." He also said "only a liar" could make the case, as Trump suggested, that Obama wire tapped Trump Tower ahead of the election.

It would appear, however, that Rhodes is wrong, especially as pertains to matters of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, and its associated FISA court, under which the alleged wiretap of Donald Trump would have been granted, as it pertained specifically to Trump's alleged illicit interactions with Russian entities.

In Chapter 36 of Title 50 of the US Code *War and National Defense", Subchapter 1, Section 1802, we read the following:

(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—

(A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at—
(i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section 1801(a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or
(ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in section 1801(a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;

(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party; and

(C) the proposed minimization procedures with respect to such surveillance meet the definition of minimization procedures under section 1801(h) of this title; and
if the Attorney General reports such minimization procedures and any changes thereto to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at least thirty days prior to their effective date, unless the Attorney General determines immediate action is required and notifies the committees immediately of such minimization procedures and the reason for their becoming effective immediately.

While (B) seems to contradict the underlying permissive nature of Section 1802 as it involves a United States person, what the Snowden affair has demonstrated all too clearly, is how frequently the NSA and FISA court would make US citizens collateral damage. To be sure, many pointed out the fact that Fox News correspondent James Rosen was notoriously wiretapped in 2013 when the DOJ was investigating government leaks. The Associated Press was also infamously wiretapped in relation to the same investigation.

As pertains to Trump, the Guardian reported as much in early January, when news of the alleged anti-Trump dossier by former UK spy Chris Steele broke in January:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

Furthermore, while most Democrats - not to mention former president Obama himself - have been harshly critical of Trump's comments, some such as former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau was quite clear in his warning to reporters that Obama did not say there was no wiretapping, effectively confirming it:

Favreau also urged his twitter followers to read a thread that explicitly suggested the prior existence of FISA-endorsed wiretaps:

Additionally, Philip Rucker, the WaPo's White House bureau chief echoed Favreau's caveat, namely that the Obama spokesman’s statement does not deny the existence of wiretaps on Trump Tower, only that Obama himself and the Obama White House did not approve them if they did exist.

Further implying the existence of such a wiretap was David Axelrod, who tweeted today that that such a wiretap could exist but would have "been OK'ed only for a a reason."

Yet ironically, it was none other than the Trump administration which just earlier this week announced it supports the renewal of spy law which incorporates the FISA court, without reforms: "the Trump administration does not want to reform an internet surveillance law to address privacy concerns, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday, saying it is needed to protect national security. The announcement could put President Donald Trump on a collision course with Congress, where some Republicans and Democrats have advocated curtailing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, parts of which are due to expire at the end of the year."

"We support the clean reauthorization and the administration believes it's necessary to protect the security of the nation," the official said on condition of anonymity.


The FISA law has been criticized by privacy and civil liberties advocates as allowing broad, intrusive spying. It gained renewed attention following the 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the agency carried out widespread monitoring of emails and other electronic communications.

In any event, the bottom line here appears to be that with his tweet, Trump has opened a can of worms with two possible outcomes: either the wiretaps exist as Trump has suggested, and the president will use them to attack both the Obama administration and the media for political overreach; or, there were no wiretaps, which as Matthew Boyle writes, would suggest the previous administration had no reason to suspect Trump colluded with a foreign government.

Senator Ben Sasse said as much in his statement issued earlier today:

The President today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information. If there were wiretaps of then-candidate Trump's organization or campaign, then it was either with FISA Court authorization or without such authorization. If without, the President should explain what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this. It is possible that he was illegally tapped. On the other hand, if it was with a legal FISA Court order, then an application for surveillance exists that the Court found credible.

But what is perhaps most important, is that we may know soon enough. As the NYT reported on Saturday afternoon, a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what the official described as a document issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing surveillance of Mr. Trump and his associates.

If and when such a document is made public - assuming it exists of course - it would be Trump, once again, that gets the last laugh.

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turnball the banker's picture
turnball the banker (not verified) Mar 4, 2017 6:28 PM

So is any cunt going to jail or what?

hedgeless_horseman's picture


I am pretty sure Ed Snowden is having the last laugh.

Donald Trump on Edward Snowden: Kill the ‘traitor’



If you haven't watched Citizen Four, then I recommend that you do so.  It is a great documentary film.

beemasters's picture

McCain is laughing, but not for long...

McCain Institute has private Bilderberg type events. Participants include rothschilds, CFR/Trilateral mbrs, russian PM, HRC, Tony Blair, NCMEC/THORN, Petraeus,Saudi/qatar ambassadors! This is HUGE!!!

knukles's picture

I'd told my Prog buddies out here 6 or so years ago that they were gonna rue the day their conservative nachtmare comes to power and he uses this against you.
They all looked at me and said "That's never gonna happen."

Zer0head's picture

many of the ultra progressive class in the "verified" twitterverse are confirming wiretaps https://twitter.com/justinhendrix/status/838010340579426304

They believe that a court order or such from an Obama appointed judge is tantamount to a "smoking gun" and so with delight affirm Donald's tweets thinking he's incriminating himself

Paul Kersey's picture

Doesn't this prove wire tapping?

“How did we end up with transcripts of the Mike Flynn phone calls to the Russian ambassador”? It is both legal, and standard practice for US intelligence agents to monitor foreign nationals, so they do. But there’s a loophole there. It’s legal to monitor a foreign national’s phone calls, but still illegal to monitor a US citizen. If they’re following protocol, they were required to hang up and disconnect their phone surveillance the moment they identified an American citizen on the line. So, how did we end up with a transcript of their conversation?

Here’s how. They could keep on listening in and taping merrily away if they already had a FISA warrant out on Mike Flynn. With that warrant, all bets are off. So, if they ended up with a transcript of Flynn’s call(s) to the ambassador, then it’s a de facto admission that there was already a FISA warrant on Flynn before the phone calls took place, otherwise they would have had to disconnect the call once they identified Flynn.

How long have they had a warrant for Flynn? How much more have they collected before the phone calls tipped their hands? And who else is wandering around out there with a warrant taped to their backs? We have no way of knowing, but the way things are going down with this Klown Kar circus, we might be finding out more soon."

Fed Supporter's picture

the only fvcker I loathe more than obummber is Ben Rhoades. Most do not know this but that piece of dog shit was a Creative FIction writer before Obummer hired him.  Can you believe a guy like that is one of a president's top advisor on foreign policy, second only to the spawn of communists Jarret.  This previous president had a communist and a creative writer for his top 2 foreign policy advisors, unfkingbelievable.   This piece of shit was the guy that lied to America and the media about the Iran deal and we still dont know all the details.  HOw can a predisent and a novelist keep all this private from Americans?  Ben Roadapple needs to be in jail.


@beemasters, the only other thing in gov. that gripes my ass is when our elected officials like Shit Stain McCain have private meetings.  We didnt hire them and pay them to hide things from us.  Anytime there are secret meetings were are getting screwed.

BaBaBouy's picture

Bummy "Never Ordered" ~ ~ ~

We'll see on this one...

We Gots the beginnings of a Civil war here, this may get real ugly...

Joe Sichs Pach's picture

Pretty sure I saw BHO in the latest Chuck E. Cheese Chimpout video.
Put that fucker away!

lexxus's picture

Don't get too excited, Joe. All Potuses are the same.


jeff montanye's picture

oh biblicism!?!   there is only one black one and you know it.  and donald trump is lucky enough to have him as his principal opponent.  supplemented by, if she feels up to it, the blue glassed hillary clinton.  what more could a sane person allow himself to want?

AKB0048Fan's picture

Most of the Bible is a crock of shit that is NOT the word of God... according to Deuteronomy 18: 20-22.

It plainly says how to recognize that which is NOT the word of God: the prophecy must come true within the lifespan of the prophet. If the prophet dies without their prophecy having come true, then that is PROOF that it was not the word of God. It clearly says this. has spoken it presumptuously, presume to speak, means exactly the same thing; surely that prophet shall die.

Nevertheless, most of what follows Deuteronomy in the Bible is false prophesy from false prophets who died without their prophesies ever coming true, and Deuteronomy clearly states that it is not the word of God.

20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, surely that prophet shall die.’

21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’

22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him.

I am merely posting an effective anti-spam measure that will likely put an end to the "Biblicism Institute" {LOL} spamming once and for all. He should be moving on to greener pastures soon.

dogismycopilot's picture

You are correct. Ben Rhodes is THE reason the Middle East is on fire right now. His shitty writing and imagination skills didn't improve when he reached the Oval Office.

Here's some more shit on Rhodes: http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2016/05/06/7-shocking-revelations-ny-...

knightowl77's picture

he looks like he has Down's Syndrome....in 2008, he drove the campaign bus...that I guess qualifies as his expertise

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

C'mon guys, it make perfect sense for an Administration who deals predominantly in fiction to hire a fiction writer, doesn't it?

nmewn's picture

Just a point of order here, are we expected by the dimz and their Alinsky presstitutes to believe that, the "arch enemy of Hillary" (FBI Director James Comey) asked the FISA court TWICE for a wiretap on Trump campaign headquarters?

No, I didn't think so.


And what about the timeline? The first wiretap request by (Low-Renta?, Obama?, Hillary dead enders?) was in January 2016. That would be six months BEFORE WikiLeaks released anything supposedly "hacked & given to Julian by the Russians".

Luuuzy Obama has some splainin to do.


And while we're at it, I think we need to know if any other candidates campaign headquarters were bugged by "Obama's security service" going back into 2015 and why.


Even as the Fake Nuuuz continues to beclown itself...

Ken Dilanian ?@KenDilanianNBC

A senior US official tells @NBCNightlyNews' Pete Williams that he and others in a position to know have no idea what Trump is talking about.

12:24 PM - 4 Mar 2017


Oh look, he's a CIA shill, well, that explains it...



New_Meat's picture

I'm a'bettin' on Bernie's campaign (for entertainment value) and Jeb (for spite).

nmewn's picture

Wouldn't that be fun?...lol...in the meantime, by Trump announcing this unfiltered (going over the heads of the CNN/MSNBC/NYT's/Wa-Po/CBS/ABC opposition press) by Twitter, he is conveying there is no Russian there-there to everyone in the world.

A guilty person doesn't do this.

This-Will-Be-Yuuuge, a member of Obama's cabinet would know the opposition party candidate has been bugged, meaning he would too.


Oh by the way, REAL free speech advocates should be rejoicing ;-)

jeff montanye's picture

you know, desi never said that on the show.  however the rest of your comment seems right.  the tone is perfect.  they have no shame even as outed as they are.  

they are their own worst enemy.  sad that their legacy will actually be determined in the next few years.  comes at a bad time for them.

nmewn's picture

The prognosis of a psychosis is always badly timed for the true believer. I would like to say I'm sad for them...but they had every opportunity to not believe ;-)

ThanksChump's picture

Comey isn't the AG. Loretta "Bubba's Tarmac" Lynch would have had to order this.

nmewn's picture

Correct, either Obama himself or Low-Renta requested it.


And someone would have had to give her/him actionable intelligence evidence to present to the court and it damned well better be based on some sort of terrorist activity like Trump plotting to strap bombs on puppies to be given to Haitian orphan children or espionage, like him attempting to find out whats inside the highly secretive TPP or Iranian hostage deal or...it was obtained illegally with false evidence. 

(Only half joking, as these fucking moonbats see enemies of Obama as enemies of the state...lol)...FISA is not used for "illegal banking activities" unless of course, Low-Renta and Obama were claiming and presenting evidence to the court that Russia is a state sponsor of terror.

Which they somehow forgot to inform Congress about...or John Podesta...or his brother Tony of the Podesta Group, who lobby's for Russian banks ;-)


Moon Pie's picture


The whole 'the Russians did it' theme advanced by the Liberati is horse hockey doo doo to cover up flat out monitoring of Trump campaign.

Excellent article on this by Pollak on Brietbart.  http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/05/deepstategate-obama-t...


Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Paul,

And, here's the Intent:

So what Criminals at large Obama, Clapper & Lynch have done 17 days prior to former CEO Criminal Obama leaving office was to Decentralize & weaken the NSA. As a result, Intel gathering was then regulated to the other 16 Intel Agencies.

Thus, taking Centuries Old Intelligence based on a vey stringent Centralized British Model, De Centralized it, filling the remaining 16 Intel Agenices with potential Spies and a Shadow Deep State Mirror Government.

All controlled from two blocks away at Pure Evil Criminal War Criminal Treasonous at large, former CEO Obama's Compound / Lair.

It's High Treason being conducted "Hidden In Plain View" by the Deep State. It's the most Bizarre Transition of Power I've ever witnessed.


Fed Supporter's picture

Trump can undo it with his pen and his phone.

jeff montanye's picture

then i believe the two of you have the best of that argument.

and while we are at it, have those cia leakers been shown to a grand jury yet?

chop, chop.

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

I didn't order it ....  or approve it, or know about it, AND I don't recall.

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. ... If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement"

New_Meat's picture

pretty much at that level (top tier IC) one's rights as an AMCIT are signed away.  There is no way that Flynn didn't know he was being recorded and little doubt that he knows the extent of the compartment.

exi1ed0ne's picture

Simple.  UK, Israeli, or another member of the 5 eyes agreement taps the call and leaks to the press.  This shit isn't hard.

Anyone involved with providing complete access to our raw intelligence data to a foreign power is a fucking traitor that should be night dropped into one of the hellhole ME countries they helped make.

John McCloy's picture

 Answer is simple..because Obama and his appointees who are loyal eventual pigs out to the salugher were talked to before he left office and are the source of the leaks. Obama gave orders or request for his sychophants to leak whatevetr they could to harm the incoming President which is beyond reprehnisbile in my opinion...he has been far to used to playing President and unable to givr up that power..he believed his own hype and it will be his downfall because the long arm of the law he loved to hit opposition with is about to come back his own way because his coward underlings will throw him under the bus at the first opportunity. 


    Make no mistake..we all know Obama along with the Lerner thing ordered this from top down...AND THAT is also why he removed the Wet Foot Dry Foot Cuban refugee policy..MR. I Love Refugees...admonished Cubans fleeing OUT OF PETTY RETRIBUTION because that group voted for TRUMP. The largest flim flam experiment to ever hold office...Put him in jail and Soros asap and LET HIS SUPPORTERS RIOT...that will be quelled in a day and half as they realize the food trucks delivered by working Americans dont deliver themselves to hazardous cities. Become the Villian they imagine you and purport you to be.. We know your heart is in the right place..just stop kissing Israels ass...let them become the 51st state honestly if they want to hold so much influence. America first and our populace...rights do not come in groups. 

LibertarianMenace's picture

"...that will be quelled in a day and half as they realize the food trucks delivered by working Americans dont deliver themselves to hazardous cities."


It would truly be the best "Ten Days That Shook the World". Only this time, it will be the proggies that get a much deserved, stiff taste of their own bitter medicine.

El Crusty's picture

More importantly, doesn't this tip off The Presient that he has the authority to wiretap anyone he needs to under current law? would be a REALLY convienient way to find those leaks and unearth who all the deep state actors are.

Mr President- if you're reading this wire tap the ever loving shit out of anybody you even remotely suspect is undermining your administration- especially people you are keeping in your inner circle. RINOs and anyone connected to Obama would be a really good start. You will find your answers if you don't chicken out. Once you have evidence TURN YOUR BOY SESSIONS LOOSE ON THEM! No holds barred, use every obscure law, rule or criminal justice code - charge them with everything they can be charged with. This is the mission Jeff Sessions was born for- let him do it!

Tarzan's picture

Sorry, they're not hanging up, they're recording it all, even you and I

The NSA is not following the law of the land, it's a rogue agency.

There's a reason the NSA needs so much cold water to cool those servers....

prime american's picture
prime american (not verified) Tarzan Mar 5, 2017 3:56 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

GreatUncle's picture

You pay for another intelligence agency to do it for you.

Hence GCHQ and NSA, if one can't the other can.

Cman5000's picture

Events are moving fast the shit is hitting the fan. This could be the nail in the coffin for the Democrats. 

Arnold's picture

Dominoes reports unusually heavy pizza orders this evening.

flyingcaveman's picture

There's a shadow government or somebody ordered it.

Zorba's idea's picture

The TELL...No White House official ever interfered with an Independent investigation by the Department of Justice. Are we really supposed to swallow this BS, that Holder & Lynch ever acted independently!!! Fuck me? NO, FUCK YOU OBUMMER

dexter_morgan's picture

Problem is twofold



2 - they apparently gathered nothing to use against him from those woretaps


Winston Churchill's picture

Stop making friends in soup lines, and mental hospitals.

Just a thought.

Yog Soggoth's picture

C'mon where would our entertainment come from if it were not from the stupid? Unless you don't care for slapstick. 

Dumbest Stunt Attempt Ever Done - YouTube   LiveLeak.com - 10 Guys Fail Jumping Moving Car
Zorba's idea's picture

Yes indeed. The old axiom..."What goes around comes around".  Hope our guy pushes all the right "buttons"

cdog's picture

McCain was a traitor, and IS A TRAITOR.

Need a refresher on how he helped the enemy while a POW in Vietnam?


To think that traitorous POS was close to being POTUS? WTF!!!