Dish­ing on Rice

Sources say the Obama ad­viser or­dered the spy­ing on Team Trump

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By R. Em­mett Tyrrell Jr. R. Em­mett Tyrrell Jr. is ed­i­tor in chief of The Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor. He is au­thor of “The Death of Lib­er­al­ism,” pub­lished by Thomas Nel­son Inc.

Have you been keep­ing up with the news from Wash­ing­ton? If you have, doubt­less you know that there are con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence with our re­cent elec­tions. Pos­si­bly, you even sus­pect that agents of the di­a­bol­i­cal Don­ald Trump were in con­tact with those das­tardly Rus­sians. Oh, yes, and there was some­thing in the news about Rus­sian bankers talk­ing with Jared Kush­ner, the pres­i­dent’s son-in-law and a one-time real es­tate de­vel­oper, who now sits in an of­fice right down the hall­way from Mr. Trump and can pop in at any­time.

There is a lot of news com­ing out of Wash­ing­ton th­ese days, about Pres­i­dent Trump, about con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the Rus­sians, even about Ivanka Trump and her White House of­fice. Yet un­less you are a devo­tee of Fox News, I shall bet that you are al­most com­pletely ig­no­rant of a news story that came out last Fri­day. Un­der the by­line of Malia Zim­mer­man and Adam Hous­ley, Fox News re­ported, “The U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial who ‘un­masked,’ or ex­posed, the names of mul­ti­ple pri­vate cit­i­zens af­fil­i­ated with the Trump team is some­one ‘very well known, very high up, very se­nior in the in­tel­li­gence world,’ a source told Fox News.” Now there is a story that did not make it into the main­stream news.

More­over, do you know that to cir­cu­late in­for­ma­tion picked up from sur­veil­lance by Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence agen­cies is a felony? So is un­mask­ing the iden­ti­ties of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens in­ci­den­tally caught in the sur­veil­lance, for in­stance, the iden­tity of Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. This shad­owy fig­ure who the Fox re­porters as­sure us is “very well known, very high up, very se­nior in the in­tel­li­gence world” surely knows this, and he or she could be in very se­ri­ous trou­ble. I sug­gest he or she get a lawyer.

Af­ter all we have had a change of ad­min­is­tra­tions in Wash­ing­ton. No longer are the Democrats in the White House to cover for this shad­owy fig­ure. Now there is Don­ald Trump sit­ting in the Oval Of­fice. My guess is that he will not be happy to hear the find­ings of Fox News that var­i­ous agents in our in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity were lis­ten­ing in on his team’s tele­phone calls. Maybe th­ese in­tel­li­gence agents were not tap­ping the tele­phones of the Trump team, and maybe they were not tap­ping the can­di­date-soon-to-be-pres­i­dent-elect’s calls. Af­ter all, that is a pretty old-fash­ioned sur­veil­lance tech­nique and the term “tap­ping” is a bit an­ti­quated. But, ac­cord­ing to sources known to Fox, this sur­veil­lance was be­ing di­rected by some­one “very se­nior in the in­tel­li­gence world.” I sug­gest he get a whole team of lawyers.

Ac­cord­ing to Fox News, House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Devin Nunes, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, has known about this un­mask­ing since Jan­uary. That is when two sources in the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity came to him and told him who was re­spon­si­ble, and at least ac­cord­ing to Fox, one of the names of those who were un­masked. Mr. Nunes also has the se­rial num­bers of dam­ag­ing doc­u­ments that chron­i­cled the re­ports of this ne­far­i­ous op­er­a­tion.

The Democrats are por­tray­ing Mr. Nunes as manic in his vis­its to the White House last week. Yet, since he first heard about the ap­par­ently il­le­gal sur­veil­lance of Team Trump, Mr. Nunes has been ask­ing the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity to hand over the ev­i­dence that he as chair­man of the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee has a right to see. He was stonewalled. Thus, when he heard of the ma­te­rial in the White House, he knew where to go. Now the lead­ing Demo­crat on the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, Adam Schiff, has seen it, too. One won­ders how long this sur­veil­lance of Team Trump will re­main a story with only Fox News and such out­lets as The Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor.

Mr. Nunes has been ask­ing the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity to hand over the ev­i­dence that he as chair­man of the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee has a right to see. He was stonewalled.

Ge­orge Neu­mayr of The Spec­ta­tor has been re­port­ing on this story and sim­i­lar mat­ters for a cou­ple of weeks. Now come the Fox rev­e­la­tions and this news: Adam Hous­ley, who was one of the re­porters on Fox’s Fri­day story, re­ports that Su­san Rice, formerly Pres­i­dent Obama’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, sought the names of Team Trump that were snagged by this sur­veil­lance. She had the names sent around to cer­tain De­fense De­part­ment per­son­nel, to James Clap­per, then-di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence, and to John Bren­nan, then-CIA di­rec­tor, along with Ben Rhodes, then Ms. Rice’s deputy. Mr. Neu­mayr has been say­ing for days that all roads in this sur­veil­lance scan­dal lead to Mr. Bren­nan. Now it ap­pears there is ev­i­dence that they passed through sev­eral other of­fices, too.

Ob­vi­ously, there are go­ing to be a lot of stars from the Obama years in need of lawyers. One ques­tion does bother me: How could so many Obama aides be so stupid as to eaves­drop in Team Trump even af­ter Mr. Trump won the elec­tion?

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