Our story begins during the IRS scandal where Tea Party groups were targeted. This episode demonstrates the lengths the secret state will go to break the law and target opponents. In May 2013 the scandal broke and congressional demands for investigations ramped up leading to subpoenas for records of the office involved. A month prior to the scandal breaking, Lois Lerner, head of the office at the heart of the scandal wrote the following email to an information technology specialist at IRS. In it Lerner asks whether chats on the IRS system would be turned over to congressional investigators. Earlier she admitted that "I was cautioning folks about email and how we have several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails."
Later on when Lerner's emails were subpoenaed the IRS declared that her computer had crashed. Ooops! Also, backup copies of Lerner's emails were erased. Ooops! Ooops!
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Obama friendly officials remaining inside the federal government in key positions. And among that group Politico reports the use of expanded technology to skirt email and other communications that might be the subject of investigation:
Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration’s agenda.Is it any wonder then that Trump's tax returns were leaked to the New York Times, or that reporters today are soliciting leaks of such highly confidential information:
Whether inside the Environmental Protection Agency, within the Foreign Service, on the edges of the Labor Department or beyond, employees are using new technology as well as more old-fashioned approaches — such as private face-to-face meetings — to organize letters, talk strategy, or contact media outlets and other groups to express their dissent.
It doesn't seem to matter that the leak of such information is a felony.But if you're in IRS and have a certain president's tax return that you'd like to leak, my address is: NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018. https://t.co/ujYe100Tn9— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 6, 2017
It's also a felony to leak classified information but that didn't stop someone inside the government from leaking the transcript of President Trump's early phone calls to foreign leaders. And it's a clear violation of the law for any intelligence organization to reveal information about an American citizen gathered by a wiretap on foreigners inside the United States but this is what happened to Trump's first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Democrats used to worry about the abuse of civil rights from such acts. Now they openly tout the illegal leaks to undermine Trump and his officials. Some even encourage breaking these same very serious laws if it undermines Trump.
Obama Order Makes it Easier to Leak Sensitive Info
We also learned that in the final days of his Administration President Obama signed an order which removed some of the privacy protections on sensitive information and made it easier to share with other agencies which would also make it easier to hide leaks. The New York Times reports:
In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.The Times also reports that the Obama White House had access to and spread information about possible Trump ties to Russia:
The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.So, the Obama White House had highly sensitive information about Trump and caused it to be spread to other government agencies for the specific purpose of "preserving" it for some future use! The Times also reports that there has been other intercepted communications of Trump associates though there was "no evidence" of any wrong doing in connection to Russian interference in the election. The opportunity to abuse this information has grown exponentially.
From Ben Domenich at the Washington Post briefing The Transom:
The simple fact here is that we have FBI, DOJ, and other intel service officials actively leaking confidential information to undermine the new administration. They are going to continue to do so, because they are political actors, seeking their own ends. This extends to the political bureaucracy as well, which has taken to encrypted apps to communicate behind the scenes and plan ways to undermine the new administration.Obama Denial Not So Airtight
When it comes to Trump's explosive charge that Obama wiretapped him during the election Obama's spokesman was quick to deny the charge. But a former Obama White House aide points out:
We also note that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied the Trump charge. Yet this is the same Clapper who lied previously when asked if spy agencies collect data on American citizens. Obviously they do, hence the leaked Flynn transcripts.I'd be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) March 4, 2017
There is obviously plenty of smoke here. Democrats continue to vent about possible Trump ties to Russia despite the lack of evidence. Is that just a tactic to cover up far worse activity by Obama agents still in government? Might this also explain why Democrats have gone to such extraordinary lengths to slow the replacement of Obama officials with Trump nominees?
By all means, let's have an investigation. Let's find out who it is inside the government that is breaking the law with these leaks. Let's find out what links they have to Obama and what coordination is going on behind the scenes and the methods these lawbreakers are using to hide their crimes. I'm sure Democrats will cooperate. Right?