Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spygate II

"What can I say? I'm a spy."
--Harry Tasker (True Lies)

Following up on the question of whether then President Obama spied on Donald Trump during the recent presidential campaign, Judge Nap reiterates (video here) that Obama would have needed no warrant to access Trump communications. Because the NSA is tapped into all US telecommunications on a 24/7 basis, and because the NSA effectively works for the president, then the NSA would have been duty bound to provide Obama with transcripts of Trump phone calls made at any time.

In other words, raw capacity for a contemporary president, including then President Obama and now President Trump, to spy on citizens at will is certainly in place.

However, if Obama did order the NSA directly to provide such transcripts, then there would be a record of such an order. Being the smart bureaucrat that he is, Obama would have known to use a source that would leave no fingerprints of his request.

Such sources exist. For example, those knowledgeable with the situation have suggested that the British foreign surveillance service, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), would have been well positioned to provide transcripts of Trump communications without a paper trail. Incredibly, NSA has given GCHQ (and other foreign intel units) full access to its computers, meaning that GCHQ has digital versions of all communications made in America, including Trump's. Plausibly, Obama could have bypassed all American intel agencies to access the information that he wanted sans his administration's fingerprints.

As such, American intelligence officials would be telling the truth that they did not know about an Obama request for intelligence because the request was made outside US channels. An added twist to this scenario is the fact that the head of GCHQ abruptly resigned three day's after Trump's inauguration, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Whether the spying allegations lead to discovery of the truth remains to be seen. What is completely visible, however, is a government sponsored system that tramples our natural right to privacy and, by extension, our right to be free.

No comments: