Did President Obama illegally unmask Candidate Trump and his campaign team?
Unrolled thread from @prayingmedic #FISA702te #FISA #Trump #TrumpRussia
“What happens if it is ever proven that a sitting President spied on a political candidate and his team without ever obtaining a warrant?”
Check out @prayingmedic’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/prayingmedic/status/951220663703883776?s=09
My first thread on Twitter concerns the #FISA702 warrant used to surveil the Trump team and whether the FBI/DOJ ever obtained one. Sundance (@TheLastRefuge2) & others have been piecing together the story behind the surveillance of the Trump team before and after the election.
20 tweets 6 hours ago
Based on news reports, we’ve assumed that a #FISA warrant was obtained by the FBI/DOJ, that allowed the Obama administration to gather intelligence on the #Trump team.
Recent events have caused us to re-examine some of our assumptions.
Sundance asked the question:
Is there any hard evidence proving that the FBI/DOJ obtained a FISA warrant?
He offered a $1,000 reward for proof.
I did some digging to determine exactly where the idea came from that a FISA application by the FBI/DOJ had been approved.
The stories I found in the New York Times, WaPo and other papers all pointed to a Heat Street article by Louise Mensch.
When I looked for Mensch’s story, all the links were dead. It’s been removed from the internet. I did find an archived copy here:
Mensch attributes her report that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to “Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community.”
No names. Just two anonymous sources.
The article places the date of the warrant as October of 2016
For background, I’m including links to other news outlets that reported on the story.
Here’s an article from the Washington Post, which cites the Heat Street story by Mensch:
This former British lawmaker is at the heart of the Trump wiretap allegations
Reporting by Louise Mensch, who emphasized her article does not back up Trump’s wiretapping claim, was among the sources cited by the White House.
The New York Times published a story but it deferred to the WaPo story below.
Court Approved Wiretap on Trump Campaign Aide Over Russia Ties
To get permission to wiretap Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign, last summer, the Justice Department had to show probable cause that he was acting as a Russian agent.
WaPo ran a story that independently reported the FISA warrant had been issued but again, they could only cite anonymous counterintelligence sources:
FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page
The Justice Department and the FBI convinced a judge of probable cause to believe Page was suspected of acting on Russia’s behalf.
A third independent report on the approval of the FISA warrant was written by Paul Wood of BBC. Again, the author cites unnamed sources in the intelligence community.
Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?
Paul Wood examines the background and fallout concerning the allegations about the president-elect.
Lastly, there’s a story by The Guardian which attempted to confirm the first FISA application but couldn’t independently confirm the second.
The author speculated that the BBC and Heat Street stories about the approval of the second application were true.
Louise Mensch: the former British MP who scooped US media on Trump’s Russian ties
Mensch works at News Corp by day and investigates Trump and Moscow by night. Here’s how she learned the secret that eluded even the best journalists
All the stories claiming that a FISA warrant was obtained by the FBI/DOJ cite anonymous sources. The main story by Mensch has been pulled.
If we’re going to base our belief that a FISA warrant was obtained on news reports, there is little reliable evidence to support that idea.
But it gets worse.
Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said if the FBI obtained a FISA warrant, he would know about it. He flat out denied that there was one in an interview with Chuck Todd.
Some would argue that Clapper is a known liar and it’s possible that he denied knowledge of a FISA warrant to cover for the Obama administration.
Here’s the problem with that line of reasoning:
If there was a legally obtained FISA warrant, the Obama administration followed the law. They had nothing to fear and no reason to lie.
And – If at any time in the future, evidence came to light that there was a FISA warrant, Clapper would be proven to be a liar. He stood to lose a lot if he knowingly lied. And there was nothing to gain by lying.
In the article describing the documents given to Devin Nunes by Rod Rosenstein about the #TrumpRussia investigation, the FISA 702 applications are conspicuously absent.
Sundance has asked if anyone has info on them. No one has offered anything to date.
EXCLUSIVE: House Intel Committee Has Received All Docs On Trump Dossier From DOJ, FBI Via @dailycaller
Putting it all together, there is little hard evidence to support the idea that the FBI/DOJ obtained a FISA warrant and it is the testimony of James Clapper that they did not.
Was there actually a FISA warrant?
Or was the narrative about it just a cover story?
I’ll leave you with one last question:
What happens if it is ever proven that a sitting President spied on a political candidate and his team without ever obtaining a warrant?