By Jon Dougherty
In the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report verifying what we’ve known all along — that there was no “collusion” between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia because it was a fabricated narrative — there is a cacophony of calls to investigate former President Obama and his administration.
“What did 44 know and when did he know it?” has become a familiar question all of a sudden.
Or, in the case of Ari Fleischer, former communications chief for President George W. Bush, when did Obama authorize it?
“Now that Mueller says there was no collusion, it is time to scrutinize the Obama Administration. They spied on a US campaign, wiretapped Americans, bit on the dossier and unmasked Flynn. What did Barack Obama know and what and when did he authorize it?” he tweeted Monday.
Now that Mueller says there was no collusion, it is time to scrutinize the Obama Administration. They spied on a US campaign, wiretapped Americans, bit on the dossier and unmasked Flynn. What did Barack Obama know and what and when did he authorize it?
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) March 24, 2019
For anyone surprised that Fleischer is making such a declarative statement — that Obama did, in fact, know about “Spygate” and the entire operation to destabilize the Trump presidency, he said about a year ago that no one should be under any illusions about the former president’s role in all of this.
As tweet-reported by ace investigative journalist Paul Sperry in May 2018:
BREAKING: Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said “I guarantee the answer is yes” to whether Obama knew Halper & others were deployed to spy on Trump campaign. Fleischer explained that no FBI director would put informants inside a presidential campaign w/o the prez authorizing it
There have been other indications that Obama not only knew but was directing the operation.
Remember that text exchange between FBI counterintelligence No. 2 Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, his lover?
In a Sept. 2, 2016, text to Strzok about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, Page said it was important to do so because “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”
And earlier, we reported that Obama would also have been kept in the loop by his attorney general, Loretta Lynch — who was a lot more loyal to him that Jeff Sessions has been to Trump.
As ABC News noted in February 2018:
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, commonly referred to as the “FISA Court,” is a secret tribunal with legal authority to grant (or deny) warrants for electronic surveillance against would-be spies or terrorists.
The court — made up of 11 federal judges, serving 7-year terms and selected by the chief justice of the Supreme Court — meets in private, sometimes in the middle of the night. FISA targets are highly classified.
More than a thousand applications for electronic surveillance, all signed by the attorney general, are submitted each year, and the vast majority are approved.
Changes made to the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 — via the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (and renewed in December 2012) give presidents and the intelligence community much more latitude when it comes to surveillance of “foreign” persons.
As explained by Yale Law professor Jack Balkin in 2009:
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, effectively gives the President – now President Obama – the authority to run surveillance programs similar in effect to the warrantless surveillance program [secretly implemented by George Bush in late 2001]. That is because New FISA no longer requires individualized targets in all surveillance programs. Some programs may be ‘vacuum cleaner’ programs that listen to a great many different calls (and read a great many e-mails) without any requirement of a warrant directed at a particular person as long as no US person is directly targeted as the object of the program.
Also, since the spying against Team Trump was set up as a counterintelligence operation, Obama would have been updated regularly via the President’s Daily Intelligence Brief.
As the Brookings Institute noted in a policy paper arguing for the Trump administration to renew legislation reauthorizing Section 702 of the FISA Act, which clarifies warrant requirements of the Act, information gathered via FISA warrants “sometimes known as PRISM, comprises a large part of the President’s Daily Brief.”
The paper also noted this important distinction:
We often think about 702 as an NSA authority, but it is also to a significant degree an FBI authority. Thus, the person and the integrity of the FBI director is critically important to the integrity of the program.
The question about whether Obama did or did not know about all of this has been answered — on more than one occasion. And the answer is a resounding yes.
For his part, President Donald Trump said essentially the same thing earlier last year as well, and as always, was prophetic.
When a reporter asked if he believes Obama knew, POTUS responded: “Would he know? I would certainly hope not. But I think it’s going to be pretty obvious after awhile.”
It most definitely is. Now, the real question becomes: What is the current Justice Department going to do about what the Deep State has done to POTUS Trump and his administration?
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
Never miss a story! Sign up for our daily email newsletter — Click here!