British Role Confirmed in Trump Spying Scandal
A Special Report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director.
The British Guardian posted a report on April 13 claiming that its sources now admit that the British spy agency GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015. This was presumably when the December 2015 Moscow meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lt. General Michael Flynn took place.
This runs contrary to the blanket nature of the denial insinuated in GCHQ’s carefully-crafted statement of March 17 claiming it was all “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” that they conducted surveillance of “then president-elect” Donald Trump (emphasis added). The surveillance went back a year before he became “president-elect.”
President Trump’s claim of being “wire tapped” has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.
Based on the new disclosures, we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials such as CIA Director John Brennan (one major name implicated by the Guardian).
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said GCHQ was involved in wiretapping Trump, has also vindicated. Fox News owes Napolitano an apology for yanking him off the air for a week for making that “controversial” and now-verified assertion.
Trump Was Right
President Trump stressed the pervasive “extent” of this Obama political “wiretapping” to Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business in an Oval Office interview on April 11 (aired April 12). “Me and so many other people” surveilled, Trump said. He explained again that he had picked up the “wire tapped” terminology straight from the headline of The New York Times (of January 20) as he has explained before (on March 15; see AIM report).
Now we’re learning that GCHQ did wiretap Trump for a year before the election. “Trump” is, of course, shorthand for Trump associates and possibly Trump himself directly, depending on context. But GCHQ is trying to put a positive spin on what it admits would be illegal spying on U.S. citizens if done by U.S. agencies.
The Guardian’s sources claim a heroic role for the British GCHQ as a courageous “whistleblower” in warning U.S. agencies to “Watch out” about Trump and Russia—but carefully avoiding mention of the U.S.’s NSA, which must be protected at all costs as part of the NSA-GCHQ spy-on-each-other’s-citizens “wiretap shell game.” (See AIM Special Report of March 18).
These sources virtually admit the mutual “wiretap shell game” by inadvertently mentioning the Trump-Russia data was originally passed on to the U.S. by GCHQ as part of a “routine exchange” of intelligence. The use of this term, “exchange,” suggests what we had previously reported—the shell-game “exchange” between the NSA and GCHQ where they can spy on each other’s citizens and deny it all.
Past British Prime Ministers have been implicated in various scandals involving wiretaps. Some have involved the “Echelon” global surveillance system set up by the NSA with its counterparts in the other “Five Eyes” nations—UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Any one of these countries is able to circumvent domestic laws against spying on their own citizens by asking another Echelon member country to do it for them. This is precisely the “wiretap shell game” used by the Obama administration to have British GCHQ spy on Trump, as outlined by Judge Napolitano and his sources.
To avoid unraveling the longstanding Five Eyes spying “wiretap shell game,” the GCHQ had to pretend they “routinely” came across this Trump-Russia wiretap data “by chance,” unprompted by requests from U.S. agencies (such as the NSA or CIA) or by Obama officials, working outside normal NSA chain of command on Signals Intelligence or SIGINT (as Judge Napolitano reported on March 14).
So the heroic British GCHQ comes to the rescue with conveniently “accidental” (our word) captures of wiretap communications between Trump people and sinister-sounding “Russian intelligence agents,” with the wiretaps sent here to help out the U.S. agencies. We are supposed to believe the U.S. agencies and the Obama White House just passively received this bombshell wiretap data from GCHQ, no questions asked, for over a year from late 2015 to early 2017. (The Guardian has no end date for the surveillance, such as the November 8 election, and indicates continued surveillance into the Trump transition, with the FBI “throwing more resources” into the investigation then.)
Did Obama officials ever say, “Wait! Stop sending us this material, it may be illegal!” It does not appear so. Hence, the questions that have to be asked by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are:
- Were there requests for more wiretap data on Trump and his team?
- Were there requests for more complete transcripts, or even voice recordings?
This “alerting” of the U.S. on Trump-Russia communications was needed, according to the Guardian and its U.S. and U.K. intelligence sources, because the U.S. agencies were “asleep” or “untrained,” or were legally prohibited from “examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants.” But to the GCHQ, America is a “foreign” nation and evidently they think they are free to spy on Americans “without warrants.”
Obama’s CIA and the Anti-Trump Task Force
Previous reporting has said that an interagency task force of six U.S. intelligence agencies was set up to investigate the alleged Trump-connected names supposedly discovered in “incidental collection” of digital wiretap surveillance of Russian communications. The six agencies are said to consist of the CIA, NSA, FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Treasury Department financial crimes unit.
Until now, no one has known who in the Obama administration set up the task force, who directs it, what its operating directives state, what its activities have entailed, and who it is really accountable to.
But the Guardian is now reporting that it was CIA Director John Brennan who initiated, in about August 2016, what clearly seems to be an illegal domestic investigation of the Trump political campaign, which would be prohibited by the CIA charter.
Reportedly “Brennan used [British] GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major interagency investigation.” The infamous fake “Trump dossier” is apparently dragged in too.
Brennan then proceeded to give highly classified “urgent” briefings to individual members of the Congressional “Gang of Eight.” Beginning on about August 25, with then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on that date, CIA chief Brennan claimed that the Russian email hackings of the Democratic National Committee were designed to help Trump win the election, according to The New York Times. These partisan briefings represent the politicization of the CIA under Obama, and are of dubious legality.
In September 2016, this anti-Trump intelligence task force changed the previous “incidental” collection to outright direct targeting of Trump people so that their communications with Russia were “actively monitored,” not merely retrieved retroactively in digital archives with names having to be laboriously “unmasked.” (See also New York Times January 19/20, February 14.)
Unmasking is unnecessary if one starts with the specific names of Trump personnel first, and then flags them for future surveillance, going forward in time. In that case, the “actively monitored” and flagged Trump names automatically trigger alerts in the NSA-GCHQ computers whenever the names turn up. These wiretap reports would then have been submitted to Obama officials at the level of national security adviser Susan Rice and CIA director Brennan, and perhaps to Obama himself.
Interestingly, the Guardian’s sources carefully try to avoid implicating or involving the NSA in GCHQ’s allegedly unprompted reporting on intercepted wiretap data on Trump associates. It’s the “shell game” again with the NSA and GCHQ covering for each other.
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