Photograph: Fox News Channel's Washington Correspondent James Rosen
On Friday, Fox News Channel’s Washington correspondent James Rosen reported that Republican members on the House Intelligence Committee will have access to what’s termed “smoking gun” evidence that President Barack Obama had authorized electronic eavesdropping on foreign targets that was also used to illegally spy on candidate and President-elect Donald Trump.
Ironically, Rosen, a popular and trusted newsman, was once considered a victim of a National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance operation while he was covering the Obama White House and reported on a number of scandals such as Fast & Furious, the Battle of Benghazi, and other stories. Also claiming to be an Obama administration victim is former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson who has described a horror story of being subjected to surveillance and harassment by people she believes worked for Obama and for CBS News.
According to Rosen’s report, this alleged evidence will come from the National Security Agency, which is supposed to produce documents for the House Intelligence Committee by Friday. It is expected to take a week or so for congressional investigators to assess these materials. Former New York special operations detective Joseph Lessner claims his contacts in the nation’s capital also said the NSA material is more surprising than originally believed when Rep. Devin Nunes and his panel questioned FBI Director James Comey.
Nunes has stated that the intelligence came from a number of informants and agencies independent of one another. He also hasn’t shared the physical materials with his committee members, making him the only member of the intelligence committee to know whether the NSA has turned over some or all of the intelligence he is citing.
In response to the Democratic Party’s and news media’s allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to target the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, two Republicans — Senator Rand Paul and Rep. Trey Gowdy — took a strong stance against what many believe are baseless allegations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) had sent documents to the House Intelligence Committee in response to a request for evidence backing up President Donald Trump’s claim that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. On Monday, former prosecutor now Republican lawmaker, Rep. Trey Gowdy got his chance to question the politicized FBI Director James Comey during the Intelligence Committee’s hearing about leaks of classified information to the Trump-hating news media.
He also addressed the taped call between Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador, the South Carolina lawmaker grilled Comey about who can “unmask” a U.S. citizen when collecting intelligence.
Gowdy would later point out that making a person’s identity publicly known when protected by law is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
He asked how many people can “unmask” a person and what other agencies have the authority to do so — besides the FBI, Comey named the NSA, CIA and the Justice Department.
He also said the White House can request the agency collecting the intelligence to unmask a person, but said they can’t do it on their own.
Gowdy named several people from the Obama administration, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, all of whom Comey confirmed would likely have had access to the name of an unmasked U.S. citizen.
He asked Comey if he briefed former President Barack Obama on any calls involving Flynn, but the director would not comment on his conversations with Obama.
Gowdy proceeded with the precision of a surgeon in discussing “nefarious motives” for leaking Flynn’s name, none of which reflected well on the last administration.
Regardless, Comey would not confirm whether an investigation into who unmasked Flynn is underway, although he confirmed earlier the bureau is investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Rand Paul and Clinton Family Henchman George Stephanopoulos
Meanwhile U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a devout libertarian, was a guest on ABC TV’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday to discuss the upcoming fight over the GOP healthcare bill and the possibility that President Trump was spied upon. Stephanopoulos has been pegged many times as a Clinton operative masquerading as a serious newsman.
Sen. Paul, the son of libertarian icon and former Texas Sen. Ron Paul, claimed he could not say if there was (or was not) a wiretap on President Trump, but he did argue that the President’s National security advisor, Mike Flynn, was spied on.
George Stephanopoulos: “Finally, sir, you’re also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We see the president standing by that claim about President Obama. It’s caused a rift now with British intelligence over the weekend. How big a problem is this for the president’s credibility? How does he fix it?”
Rand Paul: “I think that we know one thing for sure, that the Obama administration did spy on Flynn. Now, whether it was direct or indirect, somebody was reading and taking — a transcript of his phone calls and then they released it. It is very, very important that whoever released that go to jail, because you cannot have members of the intelligence community listening to the most private and highly classified information and then releasing that to The New York Times. There can only be a certain handful of people who did that, I would bring them all in and they’d have to take lie detector tests… we need to get to the bottom of who’s releasing these highly-classified conversations. If the President was surveilled, he probably wasn’t the target… they probably targeted someone in a foreign government and then they listened to the conversation with Americans… we can’t allow people in the intelligence community to release the content of that information to the media or we will get a DEEP STATE and we will have an intelligence community that has enormous power if that happens.”
George Stephanopoulos: “But you don’t believe that President Obama ordered a wiretap of President Trump?”
Rand Paul: “Well, what happens is it’s different than that. We target foreigners all the time, but they talk to Americans. They talk to the president. They talk to the national security advisers. And they’re supposed to be masked. But there was something alarming the other day. General Hayden admitted that people all the way down to some of the lowest analysts can unmask who the American is. So, someone unmasked General Flynn and they’re a low-level analyst, we need to be looking at their computer and find out if they unmasked that conversation and if they spoke with The New York Times you have got to put those people in jail, because you cannot allow this to happen, or we will have presidents being blackmailed or national security advisers being blackmailed. This is a huge, huge problem, bigger than anything else that’s being discussed is the fact that private conversations from the intelligence community’s perspective are being leaked to the press. That’s not like a leak that says, oh, the president watches TV in his bathrobe, this is important to national security, you can’t let it happen.”