If Obama ordered Trump Tower wiretapped as Donald Trump claims, evidence may or may not be easily obtained.
If FISA court authorization occurred, a congressional inquiry could prove it. If conducted warrantless by the NSA, CIA or FBI, verifying Trump’s claim will be much harder.
Cooperation by agency heads would be needed. NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers is an Obama administration holdover. So is FBI head James Comey. CIA director Mike Pompeo is a Trump appointee.
If Obama got FISA court authorization to wiretap Trump Tower, or a server the building uses for electronic communications located anywhere, court records would verify it.
Still, it’s unproved so far if spying on Trump occurred, and if so, whether it stemmed from FISA court authorization or by other means.
The NSA, CIA and FBI notoriously conduct warrantless surveillance. Post-9/11, the NSA was authorized by a GW Bush executive order to warrantlessly spy on phone and other electronic communications in the name of national security.
Monitoring internally and abroad followed, a clear Fourth Amendment violation, prohibiting searches and seizures without judicial authorization – based on probable cause.
In 2012, Congress extended warrantless spying, constitutional law ignored. The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act passed both houses overwhelmingly.
Obama signed it into law. Warrantless spying was extended for another five years. GW Bush and Obama authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans lawlessly.
The CIA and FBI operate the same way extrajudicially. Constitutional protections no longer apply. Rogue governance does what it pleases – the way all police states operate.
It’s bad enough to spy on ordinary Americans, quite another on a major party presidential candidate if hard evidence proves it.
According to a NYT report, FBI director Comey “asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones” – citing the usual unnamed “senior American officials.”
Comey, an Obama holdover, said Trump’s charge is false, according to The Times. The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.
If a FISA warrant was issued, it would have likely come through the DOJ or FBI it administers. A statement by AG Jeff Sessions, another senior department official, or Comey would confirm or deny if one or the other agencies was involved. So far, no public comment by either.
Over the weekend, Trump reportedly said “(t)his will be investigated. It will all come out. I will be proven right.”
For starters, he should publicly reveal what he knows, any evidence he’s aware of, putting meat on the bones of his serious accusation.
One thing’s clear. This story has a long way to go. How it’ll end remains uncertain.