Saturday, March 4, 2017

Alexander Mercouris — Barack Obama publishes legalistic reply to Trump’s wiretap charge

Obama’s statement is a lawyer’s reply. Obama is of course himself a lawyer, but there is no doubt this statement was prepared after consultation with his lawyers. In fact they probably drafted it.
We are at a very early stage in this matter. There are multiple investigations underway, some launched by the outgoing Obama administration against the incoming Trump administration, and some launched by the current Trump administration against the preceding Obama administration. There are also separate inquiries underway in Congress. It seems there are rules prohibiting public discussion of these inquiries or even in some cases disclosure of their existence.
Obama’s highly legalistic statement today – which reads very much like a defence statement – however gives a good flavour of the direction some of these inquiries are taking, and of the sort of defence of his actions which Obama – if pressed – will make. As I have said previously, there is no doubt the wiretaps were legal since they were approved by a court. Unsurprisingly therefore Obama is taking a legal route to defend himself.

27 comments:

Matt Franko said...

" was the work of officials in the Justice Department, and it seeks to shift responsibility – or blame – onto them."

Yes... O is throwing them under the bus... I dont blame him he probably didnt have anything to do with it personally....

Matt Franko said...

oops maybe not:

https://twitter.com/TheLastRefuge2/status/838176624017301504

NYT: "One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House."

Uh oh...

John said...

The Duran: "It seems there are rules prohibiting public discussion of these inquiries or even in some cases disclosure of their existence."

Clearly not unless they're being ignored.

Noah Way said...

In other words Trump is correct, he was wire tapped. LOL

John said...

Noah, if there were any wiretaps then they were probably by CIA or NSA worried by the bullshit about Russia that they themselves spread. Obama's argument looks legalistic because it can't be anything else: presidents don't wiretap, or at least haven't in a long time; and if they do, there's never a paper trail back to them. Presidential nods and winks suffice at this level of delicacy.

If I had to guess, I'd say there probably wan't a wiretap, and this is just Trump creating a diversion from the problems engulfing him. You have to ask, how on earth could Trump have found out about a wiretap? This would have been a highly confidential operation and the intelligence community are hardly going to divulge that they've been taking a keen interest in him. And this from an intelligence community who are currently doing their best to kneecap the prez. Make of it what you will!

Whatever is going through Trump's head, he's probably drawing up his own Nixon-style enemy list. The intelligence agencies will probably go along with it but simply make shit up and pass it back as real intelligence: "Yes, Mr. President, we investigated ourselves and all your other enemies and have given everybody a clean bill of health. Now, if you'd just pose naked next to this life-size dummy of Vladimir Putin, that'll be great". The spooks don't have Trump's back, and there's little he can do about it because there's little any president can do about it.

Matt Franko said...

There apparently is a way to get surveillance without court order:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

"The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year, provided that it is only to acquire foreign intelligence information,[5] that it is solely directed at communications or property controlled exclusively by foreign powers,[6] that there is no substantial likelihood that it will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party, and that it be conducted only in accordance with defined minimization procedures.[7]

The code defines "foreign intelligence information" to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.[5]"

So maybe the June one they went thru the court and were denied but the October one they didnt go thru the court... you'd have to produce the October court order to deny...

Matt Franko said...

Obama would just have to get the DOJ to produce a redacted copy of the court order from October and he would probably be clean...

John said...

Matt, wouldn't it be more likely that a president giving the go-ahead to tap a presidential nominee would be so delicate, so problematic that it would be done without a court order, AG authorisation or any other legal niceties, and that it would be done on the sly, especially if the agencies are fine with it? It's not as if they like Trump. It seems too weird to leave a paper trail behind that might boomerang back on the agencies and the president who authorised it. And even if there is a paper trail, how would Trump learn a damn thing from the very agencies who are leaking night and day against him? They're not going to tell him, or are they fucking with his head? Strange goings-on.

Matt Franko said...

John I think they were really pissed about the wikileaks and were looking for a scapegoat and perhaps made a legal misjudgement in their haste and perhaps ended up violating FISA ...

Or perhaps if they could prove the wikileaks was really Russia they could get all the wikileaks thrown out of court as there is evidence of criminality in the wikileaks...

So if one was going to get a criminal/civil court order for discovery one could point to the wikileaks for probable cause... but if they could get the wikileaks thrown out, then no probable cause and no court order...

Seems like it is in the hands of the lawyers now we will probably have to wait and see...

Tom Hickey said...

done on the sly

IN the military when officers need to get something done that they cannot order directly or even indirectly, they slyly convey to a senior enlisted person a desirable outcome, preserving plausible deniability. The outcome appears and no one has any idea how, nor is there any trail. This is pretty much SOP.

Tom Hickey said...

So far there is no evidence of actual wrong-doing on either side that a prosecutor would assess as actionable. I doubt there will be.

This is political jockeying on both sides. No one's mind is likely to be changed. The positions are now hardened. It's a matter of whipping up the base to get behind the leadership on both sides.

Trump seems to have learned a lesson with Flynn and then sessions. He is hardening his stance. His strategy has always been that the best defense is a strong offense. He is not about to roll over for anyone now that he is president.

Noah Way said...

@John, CIA / NSA were "under" BO (in theory at least, but probably the other way around).

FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia

https://heatst.com/world/exclusive-fbi-granted-fisa-warrant-covering-trump-camps-ties-to-russia/

Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/02/15/surprise-at-the-end-obama-administration-gave-nsa-broad-new-powers/

Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/us/politics/trump-russia-associates-investigation.html?_r=1

Matt Franko said...

Clapper on MTP this am saying there was NO FISA warrant... so if there was surveillance there was no warrant... if Clapper is correct...

https://twitter.com/axios/status/838401713438605313

Noah Way said...

The passage of more than three years hasn’t cooled the insistence in certain quarters that Clapper face charges for an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir" and "not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans.

https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-11-17/lawmakers-resume-calls-for-james-clapper-perjury-charges

Matt Franko said...

He hasnt been charged because it was true...

This is another one of you guy's conspiracy theories...

Tom Hickey said...

On July 1, 2013, Clapper apologized, saying that "My response was clearly erroneous—for which I apologize."[42] On July 2, Clapper said that he had forgotten about the Patriot Act and therefore had given an "erroneous" answer.[43] Wikipedia

The NSA chief forgot about the Patriot Act?

Matt Franko said...

He wasnt the NSA chief he was DNI and probably was not familiar with the functions of the collection systems... wrong guy to ask...

Matt Franko said...

He seems like a good guy to ask if there was a FISA warrant for Trump Tower though... and he said this am that there was no FISA warrant for Trump... that he knew about...

So either there was 1. no warrant or 2. there was some other type of warrant other than FISA which DNI would not be involved with or 3. there were no intercepts at all and it is all fake news to trash Trump...

Matt Franko said...

Now Comey wants Trump to disavow the tapps in the first place:

https://twitter.com/marklevinshow/status/838515991390863360

Meanwhile Clapper says there were no warrants...

Meanwhile the Delaware Senator is saying he read the transcripts of the intercepts...

Keystone Kops...

I'm telling you guys they are all morons...

Tom Hickey said...

He wasnt the NSA chief he was DNI and probably was not familiar with the functions of the collection systems... wrong guy to ask...

Really?

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is the United States government cabinet-level official – subject to the authority, direction, and control of the President – required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to:

Serve as head of the sixteen-member United States Intelligence Community,
Direct and oversee the National Intelligence Program
; and
Serve as an advisor, upon invitation, to the President and his executive offices of the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council about intelligence matters related to national security;


emphasis added

Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director_of_National_Intelligence

Matt Franko said...

He would not be familiar with the technical details of the systems...

So he was not the guy to ask questions that require technical knowledge...

He couldnt explain the difference in the data that was being collected so he ended up having a bad hearing... leading to the charges of lying...

this is just like MMT where all of the people are incompetent so they are saying its a big "neo liberal conspiracy!" because they are technically ignorant... same as saying "Clapper is lying!".... no Clapper is technically ignorant he is not lying...

Tom Hickey said...

You are probably correct, Matt. It's likely Clapper did not want to embarrass himself by saying he did not know, so he faked it and got caught out.

Matt Franko said...

That's exactly what I thought when he testified back then Tom...

I thought "he doesnt understand how the systems work..." you could tell...

Noah Way said...

It wasn't a 'technical' question, it was whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans.

Total (now 'terrorist') Information Awareness is not a tech, is a massive survellience program. To give Clapper a pass here is more than charitable, it is delusional.

Matt Franko said...

I'm not giving him a pass I'm saying he was not prepared... not qualified to provide the expert testimony at that point...

Matt Franko said...

If you are retaining telephony connection information without corresponding identification of the US person who is communicating then you could easily say you are not collecting data on US persons but rather system configuration/connection data....

He didn't have the technical chops to explain what was/is being done ...

Matt Franko said...

Here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_(computer_science)

If the record created doesn't have personal information then you are not collecting data about US persons... just the telecommunications systems....

You have to be properly/adequately trained in information science...