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An interesting contrast

FBI Director Comey asked the Department of Justice to deny that Trump was wiretapped (by the FBI) during the presidential campaign. But the DOJ has not yet issued a denial, and Democrat senators are claiming they expect an FBI investigation to be announced. DOJ is asking for more time to respond to requests from the House for documents on the matter, and multiple anonymous sources are suggesting the real requests were routed through GCHQ.

Previously, I thought the GCHQ connection was a smokescreen to hide the real fire. The British are denying it. But their denials are suspiciously narrow:

TelegraphBritish officials were quick to rubbish Mr Napolitano's claims earlier this week. A government source reportedly said the claim was "totally untrue and quite frankly absurd".

The British official told Reuters that under British law, GCHQ "can only gather intelligence for national security purposes" and noted that a US election "clearly doesn't meet that criteria".

That doesn't sound like the statement of someone who has actually checked to find out whether any surveillance was conducted. It sounds like someone making a rote denial based on the assumption that any such request would be denied according to their understanding of British law. But that's simply not how intelligence agencies work. First, any such request would undoubtedly be framed in national security language ("Look, we can't spy on a presidential candidate. It would look bad. But we think this guy has Russian connections. We need you to spy on him -- using the NSA's infrastructure but you originate the request to get around US law -- and give us the take so we can make sure this guy isn't a Russian plant"). Second, such agencies basically ignore the law, since no one is willing to enforce it against them. They use national security law against others, they don't follow it themselves. And third, they don't report on their requests and operations to random government officials who are authorized to confirm or deny such requests to press inquiries.

If in fact the Obama Administration made a request of GCHQ to access the phone calls of his advisors, there are probably three people at GCHQ who know it happened. That's the person who received the request, the person who carried out the request, and at most one level of management to authorize it. And none of them are likely to be talking to the press.

In fact, the article I quoted above is probably best understood as a veiled threat. Shut up and don't admit to anything, or we will prosecute you to cover up our involvement. Sound familiar? As always, if you or any member of your team are captured or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

As it happens, the official in charge of GCHQ resigned shortly after Trump was inaugurated to "spend more time with his family".

As everyone well knows, spending more time with your family is politician-speak for "I got caught."

Fox NewsWe face the gravest threat to personal liberty since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 proscribed criticism of the government.

We have an unelected, unnamed, unaccountable elite group in the intelligence community manipulating the president at will and possessing intimate, detailed knowledge about all of us that it can reveal.

We have statutes that have given the president unconstitutional powers that have apparently been used. And we have judges on secret courts facilitating all this as if the Constitution didn’t exist.

For how much longer will we have freedom?

We have already lost it.

The question is how far are we willing to go to get it back?

This entry was published 2017-03-20 12:35:56.0 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2017-03-20 12:35:56.0. [Tweet]

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