The Obama Scandal is Building – More from FISA, USA Today, others…
I’ve written about the FISA report last week, I thought I would include some viewpoints from other journalists.
At USA Today, Glenn Reynolds provided a primer on the Obama scandal and I’ve quoted him generously in this piece.
Glenn — In 1972, some employees of President Nixon’s re-election committee were caught when they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters to plant a bug. This led to Nixon’s resignation and probably would have led to his felony prosecution had he not been pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.
What did Obama do? It has been recently unveiled the Obama administration program of massively spying on political opponents – was most probably a violation of clearly established law, and this is from the FISA Court no less.
The safeguards that supposedly surround spying by the National Security Agency were flouted by the Obama administration — which then lied about its actions.
Glenn — A report from journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter last week, based on recently declassified documents, exposed what went on. As Solomon and Carter write:
More than 5%, or one out of every 20, searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards President Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to the declassified FISA Court report.
The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying that the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor.”
Glenn — The FISA Court stated in the report that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.” The recently unsealed and partially declassified (heavily redacted) court document was dated April 26.
This charge against Obama does not originate in the Republican Party but comes from a respected federal judge, serving on the FISA court, who has exhaustively detailed this activity — and the serious accusations against Barack Obama and/or Susan Rice, and others in his administration.
Glenn — This of course, is much more serious than any charge that was made, let alone proved, against Richard Nixon.
But I don’t think that’s important. One crook is the same as another as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve known for some time, that Obama is a crook.
Glenn — An “institutional lack of candor,” is the polite way the FISA Court used to say that it was lied to about what was going on. And what the NSA was doing, was violating the constitutional rights of thousands Americans, including the President’s political rivals.
Donald Trump and his associates have been accused of nothing even remotely as serious as this and definitely not from a source like the FISA Court.
Journalists Solomon and Carter again:
The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans. … The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard Americans’ privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
In fact, the NSA has admitted the problem was so severe, so widespread and so resistant to change; they have given up, and plan to use the Court’s plan to destroy the upstream in a 1-year age-off. But I doubt this is the truth and I doubt it will be done — until the Trump administration cleans the ranks of the NSA from these traitors and Democratic Party partisans.
USA Today’s Glenn concludes that the scandal raises serious questions about whether the “intelligence community” can continue to operate as it has in the past, and whether it deserves the support of Americans:
Glenn — This debacle also raises serious questions about the viability of our existing “intelligence community.” In the post-World War II era, we gave massive power to the national security apparatus. In part, that power was granted in the belief that professionalism and patriotism would lead people in those agencies to refuse to let their work be used for partisan political purposes.
Glenn — It now seems apparent that we overestimated the patriotism and professionalism of the people in these agencies.
This misses an important point. It was Obama and Rice who ORDERED these agencies to use their reporting as a political weapon. That being provably true according to the FISA Court, if we value democracy, can we permit these agencies to exist in their current form?
Glenn — That’s a decision that President Trump and Congress will have to face. Ironically, they may be afraid to — for fear that intelligence agencies will engage in further targeted political leaks.
That abuse was criminally compounded when Obama administration officials purposely leaked classified information to the Washington Post and the New York Times — in order to damage political opponents.
Since we know for certain — that many felonies have been committed, someone should go to jail.
Will Attorney General Jeff Sessions have the courage to ask: What did President Obama know, and when did he know it?
Who else in his administration (Rice) was responsible for the scandal?
Glenn — The public needs to know not only who committed crimes, but how deep the corruption went inside the Obama administration, and THEN Congress needs to address, seriously, the question of whether our politicized intelligence agencies can continue to exist in their present form.
Glenn continues — As for President Trump, firing James Comey didn’t go anywhere near far enough. Heads should roll at the CIA, the NSA and the FBI. Those who are tainted with the abuses that took place during the Obama administration should be shown the door and, where crimes have been committed, prosecuted.