Did the government wiretap Trump Tower?

Did the government wiretap Trump Tower? March 6, 2017

8989863112_944c59f608_z (1)President Trump tweeted an accusation that President Obama wire-tapped his Trump Tower headquarters before the election.

Obama representatives denied the claim, but left open the possibility that there might have been a legal wiretap in connection with the Russia investigations.  See this.  Now Trump is demanding an investigation.

Everyone is calling for the evidence.  The source may be a story from the conservative webzine Heat Street published back in November the day before the election, citing two counter-intelligence sources that the FBI had obtained a legal warrant to wiretap Trump offices, including the candidate himself.  This was part of an investigation of Russian ties to the Trump campaign.

That story is excerpted and linked after the jump.

If it happened, bugging the opposing party’s presidential  candidate during the election campaign would indeed be an abuse of power of Watergate proportions.

But what if it was a legal warrant issued by a judge who saw strong evidence of illegal collusion with the Russians?

What if the Watergate burglars had a warrant and broke into the Democratic National Committee office because President Nixon suspected George McGovern of collusion with the Soviets?  Would that justify their interference in the presidential election?  I don’t think so.

So is it “Towergate” or just more “Russiagate”?

From Louise Mensch, EXCLUSIVE:  FBI  ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia, Heat Street, 7 November 2016:

Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.

Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.

The FBI agents who talked to the New York Times, and rubbished the ground-breaking stories of Slate ( Franklin Foer) and Mother Jones (David Corn) may not have known about the FISA warrant, sources say, because the counter-intelligence and criminal sides of the FBI often work independently of each other employing the principle of ‘compartmentalization’.

The FISA warrant was granted in connection with the investigation of suspected activity between the server and two banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank. However, it is thought in the intelligence community that the warrant covers any ‘US person’ connected to this investigation, and thus covers Donald Trump and at least three further men who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates. The warrant was sought, they say, because actionable intelligence on the matter provided by friendly foreign agencies could not properly be examined without a warrant by US intelligence as it involves ‘US Persons’ who come under the remit of the FBI and not the CIA. Should a counter-intelligence investigation lead to criminal prosecutions, sources say, the Justice Department is concerned that the chain of evidence have a basis in a clear warrant.

[Keep reading. . .]

Illustration by Rene Walter, “Obey,” Flickr, Creative Commons License

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