Dennis Kucinich has been running around implying or claiming that the Obama administration wiretapped a call he had with Moammar Qaddafi’s son, at a time when Kucinich was trying to prevent a U.S. war in Libya. Therefore, Kucinich argues, people should not find it outlandish that Trump or his people were wiretapped. But, like the Trump “tapp” story, there may be less to this story than it initially appears.
I have seen posts that take it for granted that Kucinich was wiretapped by U.S. officials. Indeed, Kucinich appears to make that claim in a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly, saying that U.S. intelligence officials had listened to his end of the conversation with Qaddafi’s son. But he does not tell viewers that this is a guess on his part. That becomes clear when you read the Kucinich-penned op-ed on this matter that appeared on FoxNews.com and prompted the O’Reilly interview. In that op-ed, Kucinich describes being played the phone call by Washington Times reporters who said they were recordings “recovered from Tripoli”:
Somehow, the Washington Times had gotten its hands on the surreptitious recording. I authenticated the conversation, and parts of it were published by the newspaper, which provided online links where readers could listen to me talking with Mr. Qaddafi.
The reporters did not say, nor did I ask, who had made the tape. But the paper’s stories referenced “secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.”
I have only my suspicions about their true provenance. The quality of the recordings was excellent on both ends of the call.
If sources had indeed discovered the tapes in Tripoli, there is no plausible explanation for how they would have chosen the Washington Times to carry the story. And which foreign intelligence service conceivably could have been interested in my phone call, had the technology to intercept it, and then wanted to leak it to the newspaper?
There’s a simpler explanation: I believe the tape was made by an American intelligence agency and then leaked to the Times for political reasons.
Is it really so crazy to believe that Moammar Qaddafi’s son would want to have a wiretap-quality recording of a call he made to a U.S. Congressman who was trying to prevent the U.S. from attacking Libya?? And that such recordings were recovered after the fall of Tripoli?
I have also seen claims that Kucinich was holding up transcripts of the wiretapped call in the interview with O’Reilly. But that does not appear to be true. Kucinich does not say that what he is holding up are transcripts — and, in fact, he says as he holds up the documents that he has gotten nothing about the wiretap itself. Watch:
And what I have here, Bill: Intel was tracking my resolution. Here’s a couple of redacted pages that I was able to get. I’ve had nothing about the wiretap itself. But they were tracking this resolution.
My best guess is that the documents are memoranda or emails from the intelligence community showing that they were tracking Kucinich’s resolution he had to prevent a war in Libya.
In any event, let’s assume that the U.S. intelligence community was indeed wiretapping Qaddafi’s son. As O’Reilly points out in the interview, that doesn’t seem that outlandish or offensive on its own. Kucinich says they should have minimized the call when they learned it was a U.S. Congressman on the line. Maybe so — if we accept Kucinich’s guess about the provenance of the recording, and reject the statement of the reporters who obtained it, who said that it was from Tripoli.
Still, we are left with this conclusion: Kucinich was cool with Moammar Qaddafi’s son hearing what he had to say, but not with U.S. intelligence knowing about it.
I’m not sure that’s a winning position.