Thursday, March 16, 2017 by JD Heyes
There are a lot of theories floating around involving the very obvious fact that then-GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and many of his inner circle were under surveillance of some kind by U.S. intelligence. What is also obvious, at least to this reporter, is that former President Obama had at least some knowledge that the surveillance was taking place.
Now comes a new report claiming that Team Trump may have been victimized by so-called “backdoor” surveillance that is not only legal but can also be done by U.S. intelligence agencies without first obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
As reported by The Hill earlier this week, there is a controversial loophole in domestic surveillance law that may have resulted in the inadvertent collection of data involving Trump and members of his advisory team:
The intelligence community may legally conduct so-called “backdoor searches” of Americans’ communications, without a warrant, if the target of the surveillance is not a U.S. citizen.
If Trump or his advisors were speaking directly to foreign individuals who were the target of U.S. spying during the election campaign, and the intelligence agencies recorded Trump by accident, it’s plausible that those communications would have been collected and shared amongst intelligence agencies, surveillance law experts say.
The report goes on to note that the loophole was carved out by President Ronald Reagan in an executive order – 12333, or “twelve triple three” – most of which is redacted. But it involves foreign surveillance, and it provides U.S. intelligence agencies the ability to conduct so-called “backdoor” surveillance without first obtaining a warrant from the FISA court. (RELATED: Connection found between Hillary’s campaign and Russian intelligence agents)
That means there would be no paper trail – and, perhaps, no way for Trump to verify his earlier claims that Obama “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower in New York City during his campaign.
Congressional leaders on both House and Senate intelligence committees, which are currently looking into Trump’s charge, have so far not found any evidence to substantiate the claim. They and other intelligence experts note that, legally, there are only two authorities for wiretapping a U.S. citizen – the FISA court, and a Title III criminal warrant. They also note that presidents have not been able to order wiretaps on citizens since post-Nixon-era intelligence reforms in the late 1970s.
But under 12333, which civil liberty activists have said gives U.S. intelligence agencies too much leeway in governing their own spying, the U.S. attorney general can order searches of communications to or from Americans if he or she is determined to be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
And the Deep State, along with most elected Democrats and Alt-Left talking heads, have been trying to claim that Trump is somehow in the employ of Russian President Vladimir Putin, though no evidence whatsoever has surfaced to support that accusation.
There’s something else that makes this entire episode fishy. Earlier this year – like on the day Trump was inaugurated, Jan. 20 – The New York Times ran a story online and in its print edition citing “intelligence sources” who said Trump and his campaign associates indeed were targeted by agencies, over alleged “Russia ties.” In fact, the print version of the story even used the phrase “wiretapped data” in its headline. (RELATED: Did Obama Use The “Five Eyes” Intelligence Agreement To Get Britain To Spy On Trump?)
Additional reporting noted that in early January, Obama signed an executive order that allowed for the unprecedented sharing of intelligence data – even unsubstantiated data – across the various intelligence agencies. What’s more, reports noted that White House staffers were spreading data around the government regarding allegations that Trump and his team had potentially illicit contact with Russian agents, to “preserve” it. Why? Who was going to destroy it? And since we’ve been told that there was never any evidence linking Trump and the Russians, what “evidence” were they trying to preserve?
The fact that an attorney general can order surveillance on an American believed to be working as an agent of a foreign government, without a warrant, is also interesting. If that occurred, that would mean an Obama Cabinet official – Loretta Lynch – gave the order. How plausible is it that the president himself would not have known that the nominee of a rival presidential campaign was under surveillance?
Why these changes – and why right before Trump took office?
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Wednesday, Trump indicated there would be answers to these and other questions regarding his allegations in a few weeks. Stay tuned.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.