Who’s Listening In?


By Phil Erwin

When President Trump first “tweeted” that President Obama had “ordered the wire-tapping” of his phones at Trump Tower, there was an absolute furor among the nation’s media and political crowd. This struck me as odd. It seemed self-evident that somebody’s conversations had been listened to, because General Flynn had been “unmasked,” embarrassed and summarily dumped from his NSA post after only a few weeks on the job. Clearly, somebody discovered something that Trump’s team hadn’t known about when they offered Flynn the job.

But the Press was brutal in ridiculing Trump for suggesting Obama had “ordered” a “wire-tap.” The reasons for their fury were several. First, it would have been illegal. (A President cannot just “order” surveillance on an American citizen. A judicial warrant is required. But be aware: The Government may have other ways to collect the same information.) Second, it would have been considered immoral, even to the hyper-Liberal Press. You just can’t justify a President tapping the phones of his Party’s competitors.No matter what. (Remember, that’s what tripped Nixon up!) So it would be a devastating thing for Democrats to discover of their hero-President, Obama.

Of course, Liberals did not believe it, which meant it seemed to them an extraordinary opportunity to invalidate, ridicule and otherwise tear down their hated foe, Donald Trump.

And so Democrats and the Liberal Press (pardon the redundancies) screamed: There’s absolutely no evidence! He has provided no proof! He’s got nothing to back it up!

I was asked at that time what I thought. I responded, “I don’t know. The Press is convinced that Obama would never have done that; yet his Justice Department bugged journalists, and his Administration elevated artful leaking to the status of a prime political tool. And then there’s this: Donald Trump has shown a remarkable ability to see what others can’t, or don’t, or won’t – at least, not for several months. So I won’t be surprised if it turns out he’s right.”

And now… Whaddaya know! It’s starting to look like Trump was right!

But the “wire-tapping” weeds are getting pretty thick.

Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Select Intelligence Committee says he has seen alarming evidence that at least some of the members of Trump’s team had been picked up on surveillance and “inappropriately” (meaning illegally) “unmasked” in leaked communications. That sounds like confirmation of Trump’s tweet to me. Yet we hear pundits and politicians still insisting that Trump’s claim has been completely debunked, and Nunes’ revelations change absolutely nothing.

How can that be?

The problem is partly semantic. For all his wealth and privilege, Trump is a very plain-spoken man. Nuance is not exactly his strong suit. By contrast, lawyers and politicians live by the mantra that Words Matter. They believe they can convince anyone of anything if they just twist the words the right way.

Lawyers and politicians by definition are expert word-twisters – as are, of course, most media mavens.

When the President tweeted about “wire-tapping,” he obviously meant that his team had been “eavesdropped on somehow.” But “wire-taps” in the legal realm means to physically connect a tap to a telephone wire. (That’s what they did in the ‘Sixties. Such physical connections are generally not now necessary in order to “tap” someone’s digitized communications.) And when the President tweeted that Obama had “ordered” the tapping, he obviously meant that President Obama’s team had taken steps to accomplish “listening in.” Whether or not Obama actually initiated the eavesdropping is not the relevant question. The question is: If it happened, did Obama know about and approve of it?

Well, if it happened, you can be damn sure Obama approved of it, whether he actually approved it or not.

And remember: In his last days in office, Obama himself changed the rules by which “raw” information gathered by the intelligence community was to be shared between and amongst the various members of that community. The number of people with approved access was increased several fold. No one seems to know why he did that; but it increased drastically the number of people who could leak such information – thereby increasing both the likelihood of leaks taking place, and the difficulty of discovering whom leaked what.

So as you listen to the news coverage of this expanding story over the next days and weeks, keep in mind: Trump knew that something nefarious had happened, because information was leaked to the Press that should not have been available to be leaked. And he knew that someone in the Obama camp had participated in those nefarious activities, because it happened while Obama’s team was still in place.

And as Harry Truman famously observed in plain-spoken terms: The buck stops in the Oval Office.

I’d say Trump’s tweet was absolutely spot-on accurate, but was couched in the language of Everyman, not in the stilted, punctilious, deliberately obfuscating legalese of lawyers and politicians.

Who would you rather have running your country – A bunch of truth-obscuring, legalese-spouting, responsibility-dodging lawyers? Or a political neophyte who has employed tens of thousands, made billions, and still speaks plainly, no matter how much money he has?

Next time you have a chance to vote, you might keep that question in mind.

[Author’s Full Disclosure: I am not an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. I disapproved of his boorish behaviors on the campaign trail, and felt we knew too little about how he might govern to justify trusting that outcome. But – again full disclosure – I voted for him, because I considered the only appropriate office environment for Hillary to be: Not opulently Oval, but rather an arrangement involving small rectangular spaces, iron bars and orange jumpsuits.]

Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He would like to support some Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies (and is highly suspicious of Statistics.) That pretty much eliminates supporting most Democrats, and a bunch of Republicans to boot.

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Keith Stahl

Plain spoken as in consistently lying. Such a lengthy write up going nowhere because most Americans don’t trust a constantly bs’ing walking confliction. Never mind the Russian smoke around him going way back. No conspiracy there. Just an in your face shady failure propped up by Russian money laundering.
If you like gold everything, as opposed in Scripture, Trumps your man.

William Hicks

We know for a fact that James Rosen was tapped by the 0-bama administration. If it was directed by Barry or not, it was HIS administration when it happened. To add salt to it all, not only he was tapped, but also his parents.

These are beyond a doubt facts.