President Barack Obama, who possesses quite a history of ordering wiretaps and computer hackings of his perceived enemies, is being accused on Saturday of having had his minions wiretap the campaign headquarters of a GOP candidate he feared would eliminate his so-called legacy.
According to a number of news stories, President Donald Trump accused former President Obama of ordering his Trump Tower phones tapped during the final weeks of Trump’s campaign leading up to his November 8, 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton.
In tweets posted early Saturday morning, the President compared Obama’s alleged wiretapping to both “McCarthyism” and “Nixon/Watergate.”
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism,” Trump said in his Twitter post at 6:35 a.m.
At 6:49 a.m., President Trump wrote: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”
While Trump appears to know there’s blood in the water of the Democrats, he has not revealed how he discovered Obama’s alleged espionage, which appears to have been conducted without proper procedure.
“This is a serious charge against a former president, but Obama does have a history of spying on perceived enemies. Fox News Channel’s Washington correspondent James Rosen was one of the targets of an Obama spy operation as was CBS News’ Emmy-winning journalist Sharyl Attkinsson,” said former police detective, attorney and political strategist Joel Murray.
“In fact, CBS practically helped Obama’s people persecute Attkinsson, which isn’t really a stretch since her boss at CBS News was David Rhodes, the brother of Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes who has his own controversies,” Murray added.
Ironically, Ben Rhodes tweeted a response to Trump’s statements: “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.” However, Rhodes has been caught several times bending the truth and he once admitted lying in order to get Americans to accept the Iranian nuclear deal.
Also former President Obama called the allegations false. He said that “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin Lewis in a statement released hours after accusations that Obama ordered a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to wiretap the telephones in Trump Tower prior to the 2016 presidential election.
“As part of that practice,” continued Lewis, “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
But those statements by Lewis and Rhodes may be departures from the record. In the case of journalist James Rosen, according to The Guardian, a left-wing British newspaper, instead of relying on the threat of a contempt charge to get journalists to divulge their sources, the Obama administration used warrantless wiretapping and dragnet records seizures to identify who was talking to whom.
According to electronic eavesdropping expert Jacob Gusack, “wire” communications are made through the use of wire, cable or similar connection between the point of origin and the point of reception: it’s the classic telephone call. In order for a communication to be by “wire,” it must contain a human voice. So, an e-mail message doesn’t qualify.
Oral communications are uttered or spoken, and the speaker has an expectation that it’s private and will not be intercepted. For example, there is no violation of the Act when agents intercept and record a prisoner’s conversations with other inmates because the prisoner has no reasonable expectation of privacy in prison.
“An ‘electronic’ communication is one that does not contain the human voice, but contains things like words or pictures. E-mail messages are the best example of such communications.
“Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which protects e-mail messages from interception and disclosure to third parties, an exception allows employers to monitor employee email in the ordinary course of business. Although the meaning of that exception is not yet settled, it may permit an employer to monitor “business-related,” but not personal, communications, or courts may look to whether the employer had a legitimate business reason for monitoring employee communications,” Gusack, a former police surveillance expert, noted.
Knowing that Trump and his family have access to some of law enforcement’s and private security’s top officials, it is not difficult for the new President to find out if his privacy was compromised. These New York City firms — usually comprised of retired police officials and federal law enforcement agents — are routinely hired to “sweep” facilities.
According to Frank Sizemore, a retired police captain, he and his operatives inspect power lines, selected telephone lines, cellular phones, land line phones with bug detection equipment, Telephone Analyzers, telephone line analysis and instrument analysis.
They also use discreet detection equipment to detect hidden electronic devices and any bugs, regardless of whether the wiretap or bug device is hard wired, wireless / radiating or not. A complete physical search is conducted within interior surfaces, wall plates, phones, ceilings, lamps, furniture, planters, wall decorations, ventilation ducts, lighting fixture and electrical fixtures.