In an appearance this morning on ‘Meet the Press’, the Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper discussed Donald Trump’s most recent accusation of wiretapping during the election.
MTP Host Chuck Todd, pushed Clapper on the issue specifically of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court requests for monitoring of Trump and his campaign officials.
Todd: Let me start with the President’s tweets yesterday, this idea that maybe President Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of his offices. If something like that happened would this be something you would be aware of?
Clapper: I would certainly hope so. I can say… Obviously I can’t speak officially anymore but I will say for the part of the national security aperatus that I oversaw as DNI there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President, the President-Elect at the time or as candidate or against his campaign. I can’t speak for other Title III authorized entities in the government or state or local entities.
Todd: I was just going to say, if the FBI for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?
Todd: You would be told this?
Clapper: I would know that.
Todd: If there was a FISA court order…
Todd: ..on something like this?
Clapper: Something like this absolutely.
Todd: And at this point you can’t confirm or deny whether that exists?
Clapper: I can deny it
Todd: There is no FISA court order?
Clapper: Not to my knowledge.
Todd: Of Anything at Trump Tower?
Todd: Well that’s an important revelation at this point.
The result of this revelation is important because it leaves three possibilities:
- There was a warrant and it was obtained without the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence. It appears that the very action of that shows an intent to hide the action. This monitoring either was conducted by rogue intelligence officials, or it was ordered by someone higher up than the DNI, and he was circumvented from the process. With the leaks that have occurred thus far throughout the Trump Presidency, it is reasonable to assume that those wiretaps and monitoring were fruitless.
- There wasn’t a warrant and the wiretaps occurred. This makes Trump right, the Democrats wrong and lawbreakers, and turns Obama Administration officials (or the rogue intelligence officers) into prosecution fodder.
- There wasn’t a warrant and there was no wiretaps. This makes Trump into a delusional crazy person and hurts his supporters who have been spreading stories alleging this.
- Now if there was no warrant, and there were no wiretaps, it also shows that the accusations against Trump and his campaign are unfounded which also harms the democrats (and more importantly the media) that have been perpetuating these rumors.
Now of course we must also take anything that Clapper says as a grain of salt as that he has been known to be a Class A BSer on that matters of monitoring American citizens. Stating in his interview this morning that he didn’t have knowledge of the events could also be characterized as Clapper using some CYA tactics because he knows what is coming down the pike.
Overall, (as much as I hate to say it) Trump has positioned himself in a place that either gives him the victory or ensures mutual assured destruction for both sides. Worst case scenario from this for him? There were no wiretaps, which also means there is no obtainable evidence of any contact with Russia. He either shows the dems targeted him, or he ends this Russia flap once and for all.