Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 6 months, you are aware there are some pretty wild accusations flying around about Donald Trump’s campaign, and their potential contact with Russian officials. We have heard everything under the sun, from stories suggesting Russia toyed for vote totals, to a Russian Hack of a power grid.
Certainly, such an accusation is serious and should be taken seriously. If a foreign government did indeed meddle in our elections process, to the point where it affected the outcome, there should be consequences. Everyone in the country deserves to know, for sure, but there is a bigger question that should be asked, and hasn’t been asked to my knowledge:
Why was a political candidate and campaign under surveillance by the Intelligence Community?
It is a foregone conclusion that Trump and many of his campaign staff were under surveillance by Intelligence officials. Almost unabashedly, have people acknowledged the information obtained on the campaign. But why? Why would a Presidential Candidate, known for his outlandish actions and lack of any type of organization, be in a position to be monitored?
Who ordered the surveillance?
The intelligence community doesn’t just pick up out of nowhere and start investigating people. They usually are instructed to based upon some order from higher ups. Those higher ups are motivated by intelligence or probable cause to begin the monitoring. Wouldn’t it be important to know if, like the accusations of the hacking themselves, or the actual potential hack, that the investigation was politically motivated?
Was a warrant obtained?
It is no secret that information obtained without a warrant would be inadmissible as a portion of any criminal action. It must be understood that if a warrant was obtained it was with the intent of pursuing criminal action. As of right now, we have no information that a criminal investigation is occurring, and that any prosecution at all is imminent.
Who obtained the warrant?
The obtaining of a warrant is a court action, which means, there is a record. It also is more than just “I’d like one warrant please, sir!” There is evidence presented to obtain the warrant, also known as probable cause. If a warrant was obtained, someone had to contact a judge and ask for a warrant. Who authorized and conducted this action?
What was the probable cause?
What was the evidence that convinced a judge that an warrant for surveillance was necessary? What was the benchmark that intelligence officials were required to meet in order to begin surveilling the campaign?
Alternatively, a warrant may not have been obtained. If one wasn’t obtained, there could have been no intent to prosecute, leaving the only intent of defaming and destroying the reputation of a candidate and his campaign. That however, begs a set of different questions:
Who was conducting warrantless searches?
Which of the intelligence agencies was okay with ignoring Constitutional law in order to accomplish their nefarious goals? Was it a few rogue analysts or was there a greater conspiracy?
When will those who were involved be investigated and/or prosecuted?
Conducting a warrantless search is a violation of the Constitutional rights of those that have been monitored. Shouldn’t we be investigating whom in our government was/is conducting this monitoring and for what reason? If the person who is releasing this info, is indeed conducting this operation without a warrant, shouldn’t they be prosecuted?
Of course, the prospect of Russian involvement in our elections is alarming, but I am much more concerned with a tyrannical government that uses the resources I provide to it, to further take away more of my freedom. At this point, I can’t think of a single justification for Trump, or his campaign advisors, to be placed under surveillance. I am also not a member of the intelligence community. It is only fair however, that if we are asking the questions of Trump, Flynn, Sessions and others, that we ask why such a broad investigation and monitoring was occurring in the first place.