Did Obama Know About Comey's Surveillance?

Authored by James Freman op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,

The media is less interested in Obama Administration wiretapping than in how Trump described it...

This week CNN is reporting more details on the Obama Administration’s 2016 surveillance of people connected to the presidential campaign of the party out of power. It seems that once President Obama’s appointee to run the FBI, James Comey, had secured authorization for wiretapping, the bureau continued its surveillance into 2017. CNN reports:

US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.


The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.


Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

This means the wiretapping was authorized more than ten months ago and perhaps more than a year ago.

It was presumably a tough decision for a judge to issue a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enabling the administration to spy on someone connected with the presidential campaign of its political adversaries.

One would presumably only approve such an order if the request presented by the executive branch was highly compelling and likely to produce evidence that the subject of the wiretap was in fact working with Russia to disrupt U.S. elections.

Roughly a year later, as the public still waits for such evidence, this column wonders how this judge is feeling now, especially now that CNN has reported that at least two of its three sources believe the resulting evidence is inconclusive.

One would also presume—or at least hope—that seeking to wiretap associates of the leader of the political opposition is not an everyday occurrence in any administration. At the very least, it seems highly unlikely that such a decision would be made by a mid-level official. CNN notes,

“Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”

It seems reasonable for the public to know exactly which officials made this decision and who else they consulted or informed of their surveillance plans. Was the President briefed on the details of this investigation?

And as for the information showing suspicion, where did the FBI come up with that? A September 7 column from the Journal’s Kim Strassel raises disturbing questions, based on recent events and a Washington Post story from last winter. Ms. Strassel writes:

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “dossier.”


That dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele. ..


The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”

Oddly, even though CNN is the source of this week’s news, the media outlet seems less interested in President Obama’s knowledge of the surveillance activities that occurred on his watch and against his political adversaries than in how President Trump has described them.

CNN’s scoop doesn’t even mention Mr. Obama except in the context of Mr. Trump’s accusations of wiretapping against the former president that appeared on Twitter in March. CNN has followed up with another story saying that Mr. Trump’s accusations have still not been proven.

That’s true, although Mr. Trump’s argument may be getting stronger. And whatever Donald Trump’s tweets say, Americans deserve to know how our government came to spy on people associated with the presidential campaign of the party out of power.


Manthong Richard Chesler Tue, 09/19/2017 - 23:38 Permalink

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Subpoena the magic negro so that he can perjure himself.

In reply to by Richard Chesler

GUS100CORRINA Manthong Tue, 09/19/2017 - 23:49 Permalink

Information below is presented without  comment ...John 8:44 (NIV)44 They belong to their father, the devil, and they want to carry out their father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

In reply to by Manthong

JSBach1 GUS100CORRINA Wed, 09/20/2017 - 02:34 Permalink

If this surveillance of Trump's associates was not political in nature why were the names leaked, why were the conversations with foreign leaders leaked, why all the leaks? Why were these reports shared between sixteen other agencies? Who ordered the surveillance and when? We are now learning that surveillance, at least in Manaford's case, started much earlier than that of others -- and, as it relates to Susan Rice's unmasking, it had no direct Russia collusion angle no matter how it is made to appear that a meeting with an UAE crown prince yet with a possible drop of Russian dressing does not make Russian collusion and most certainly had no intelligence value.

Can someone revive Jeff Sessions, convince Trey Gowdy to start some investigations for, at the very least, there is strong suspicion and anxiety that a government is able to go to secret courts, with virtually no checks and balances, and request for surveillance of its citizens with apparently weak or suspect reasons for doing so, but to cloak its more sinister self-interest as the key objective?

We know that Susan Rice lied in a public NPR interview:

Woodruff: We’ve been following a disclosure by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, that in essence, during the final days of the Obama administration, during the transition, after President Trump had been elected, that he and the people around him may have been caught up in surveillance of foreign individuals in that their identities may have been disclosed. Do you know anything about this?

Rice: I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.

She later changed her tune in front of a closed session -- not to be confused with Jeff Sessions -- of a House committee

Rice: Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, multiple sources told CNN.

Here is a interesting read on the subject, albeit months ago and one coming from a intelligence officer and a Army Colonel:
(His Bio)
Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served combat and combat-support tours in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as on numerous special operations and special mission intelligence contingencies in Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units, and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force, as well as in international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism. He is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC -- which provides strategic and operational security analysis and assessments to governmental and private entities, as well as media organizations on national security issues, policy, and processes. He currently provides advisory and consulting services on national security, international strategic policy, and strategy assessments for the U.S. and foreign private sector and governments entities, media groups and outlets, and to political groups, forums, and political candidates. He is an author and writer providing regular commentary and opinion to national and local TV, radio networks, and for both print and online publications, as well as speaking engagements to business, political, civic and private groups on national security matters – focusing on international strategic policy and engagement, and strategic intelligence, and subject matter expertise on special mission intelligence and operations, counter-terrorism, and asymmetric warfare and conflict.

In reply to by GUS100CORRINA

Chupacabra-322 oldmanofthesee Tue, 09/19/2017 - 23:16 Permalink

"Manafort has been under an ongoing wiretap, approved by the FISA courts, going back to 2014 and tied to his consulting arrangements with Ukraine's former ruling."

Ha! That's nothing.

The entire US populace has been under metadata surveillance since that little pesky AT&T room 641A & since October 2001. Right after the False Flag of 911.


According to the Times piece, the siphoning of internet data from AT&T began in 2003 and continued for a decade in a relationship that the NSA called “highly collaborative.” The telecom giant, according to one Snowden document, was extremely willing to help out the spy agency, and its engineers “were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.”

According to the Times, AT&T began turning over emails and other internet data to the spy agency around October 2001, even before the secret rooms were built, in a program dubbed “Fairview.” The program forwarded 400 billion Internet metadata records to the NSA’s headquarters at Ft. Meade in Maryland—which included the senders and recipients of emails and other details, but not the content of the correspondence. AT&T also forwarded more than one million emails a day to be run through the NSA’s keyword selection system. In September 2003, AT&T apparently enabled a new collection capability for the spy agency, which amounted to a “‘live’ presence on the global net.” The Times doesn’t elaborate on what this involved.


The Illegal, Criminal surveillance continues to this day with Impunity especially after the Criminal Centralized Telecommunications Companies were given retroactive immunity by a Criminal, Tyrannical Lawless Supreme Court.

It's the exact reason why the absolute, complete, open in your Face

Tyrannical Lawlessness

continues to this day.

But in the US, large and powerful actors must not be and are not subject to the rule of law. So telecoms hired former government officials from both parties to lobby for them and poured money into the coffers of key Democratic Senators such as Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (who became the chief advocate of telecom immunity).

In 2008, the industry obtained an extraordinary act of Congress that gave them the gift of retroactive immunity from all criminal and civil liability for their participation in the illegal eavesdropping programs aimed at Americans on US soil. The immunity was enacted by an overwhelming bipartisan vote, with the support of leading Democrats including Barack Obama, who had promised - when seeking his party's nomination - to filibuster any bill that contained retroactive telecom immunity.


In reply to by oldmanofthesee

MasterChef yrad Wed, 09/20/2017 - 00:03 Permalink

Obama gave a 400k speech to the Carlyle Group the other day. He's a sellout. But the point is they tapped Manafort's phones because he was communicating with Russian agents regularly. Now we know that he was discussing the election with Russian agents during the campaign. This is only the first smoking gun. Manafort is going to be indicted within 60 days. He's likely facing life in prison. Think he'll roll on Don senior? I do. The Trump experiment won't last till 2020. It will look bad if POTUS pardons Manafort for espionage (pretty sure we still execute people for that).

In reply to by yrad

youngman Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:28 Permalink

The strange thing for me was that they wire tapped him from 2014..then dropped it..but when he became involved with the Trump campaign..they started it up again...to me that is a felony at least and very dirty politics for sure

Sanity Bear Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

Probably started the moment that the Obama regime began to perceive Trump as a real threat to win.

I'm still waiting for the shoe to drop that they did it to Romney too. Because we all know they did, since they had the power to do so, knowledge that they would never be prosecuted for it, and no ethical or moral barriers to the practice.

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the political surveillance started the day Obama took office. I'd be surprised if it didn't. Knowing these people they were likely preparing to do so back during his first campaign.

Review the history of what happened to Obama's political opponents before he ran for President.

Dickweed Wang Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:34 Permalink

Most of what's described in this piece are FELONIES!  Why isn't ANYONE being prosecuted for any of this?  The rule of law is dead in the USA for those in power but you can be damn sure if you or I were to do anything remotely like this we would be facing 10 years with Bubba . . . no questions asked.  How long are we going to put up with this bullshit?  When peaceful change is impossible violent revolution becomes inevitable.

WTFUD Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:47 Permalink

Are we saying that Trump's Administration has Zero Access to the volumes of dirt on dozens of high level reps/officials & banking scum? Is he oblivious to the Corruption or checkmated and a part of it, already heavily compromised by Deep State.

Is he too occupied serving Goldman, Deep State & Israel in their Warmongering Escapades to consider for even ONE SECOND that even Anthony Weiner's ( his insurance policy in his words ) Laptop, have enough shit to bring down some heavy duty DNC Officialdom , not to mention Paedo's across the board?

ebworthen Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:51 Permalink

"Did Obama Know About Comey's Surveillance?"Does a bear shit in the woods?  C'mon now, Obozo oredered it!Robert Mueller is an Establishment hack, a lackey, an abject toadie. If Obama, Comey, and Mueller were hung in a Public Square by an angry mob of Patriots it would be a trifecta for Justice and the American Way.