This is the legacy of the previous mal-Administration.
The Obama administration’s illegal spying may have been worse than Watergate.
By Glenn Reynolds, USA Today
In 1972, some employees of President Nixon’s re-election committee were caught when they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters to plant a bug. This led to Nixon’s resignation and probably would have led to his felony prosecution had he not been pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.
But if a single bugging of the political opposition is enough to bring down a presidency — and maybe lead to an unprecedented criminal prosecution of a former president — then what are we to make of the recently unveiled Obama administration program of massively spying on political opponents in violation of clearly established law?
Because that’s what was unveiled last week.
Indeed. This makes Watergate appear trivial.
When the FBI wants to wiretap a domestic suspect, it goes to court for a warrant. But when listening in on foreigners, the National Security Agency hoovers up a vast amount of stuff in bulk: Conversations between foreigners, conversations between Americans and foreigners, conversations between Americans who mention foreigners, and sometimes just plain old conversations between Americans.
There are supposed to be strict safeguards on who can access the information, on how it can be used and on protecting American citizens’ privacy — because the NSA is forbidden by law from engaging in domestic spying. These safeguards were ignored wholesale under the Obama administration, and to many Republicans, it is no coincidence that intelligence leaks damaged Democrats’ political opponents in the 2016 election.
A report from journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter last week, based on recently declassified documents, exposed what went on. As Solomon and Carter write:
More than 5%, or one out of every 20, searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards President Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa. …
The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying that the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor,” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26.
The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans. … The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard Americans’ privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
As former anti-terrorism prosecutor and national security expert Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review, this is a very serious abuse. And potentially a crime. If such material were leaked to the press for political advantage, that’s another crime.
McCarthy observes: “Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries. Quite the Obama legacy.”
By Tim Haines, RealClearPolitics
House Republicans call for answers; Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen reports from Washington:
JAMES ROSEN: [House Democratic Leader] Pelosi confessed ignorance of this week’s disclosure that the National Security Agency for at least five years under the Obama administration systematically violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights…
Civil liberties groups said the disclosures should factor into lawmakers’ decision at year’s end about whether to reauthorize the NSA collection program that witnessed the abuses…
The sheer scale of the 4th Amendment violations is staggering, as was the sternness of the rebuke of the Obama administration by the FISA court, which ordinarily approves 99.9% of the government’s request.
As of a few minutes ago, this story had not been covered by the Washington Post, the New York Times or any of the three broadcast networks.
Prosecution to the full extent of the law with each inappropriately revealed communication a seperate count. Upon conviction, punishment to the full extent of the law.
Hat Tip for the Rosen article to Warner Todd Houston on Google Plus.