I’m jumping around a bit, today, from hyper-local this morning, to national politics. Be that as it may, what caught my attention during my lunchtime reading was Lee Smith’s Tablet article revising his previous assessment that the Obama administration had only pretended to be spying on American lawmakers during the campaign for the Iran deal:
“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism—activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”
This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And—with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access—terrorize them.
Once you understand how this may have worked, it becomes easier to comprehend why and how we keep being fed daily treats of Trump’s nefarious Russia ties. The issue this time isn’t Israel, but Russia, yet the basic contours may very well be the same.
Ladies and gentlemen, the “scandal free” Obama administration. It’s actually been a little surprising to see the lack of concern about this on the Left and in the mainstream media, and one can sense the availability of a seamless pivot from “this allegation is so huge it can’t possibly be true” to “this is no big deal at all.”
The Obama administration weaponized government against its political opponents. Here in Rhode Island, we’re mostly seeing our progressive Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo use government inappropriately for self-promotional purposes, but it’s a mild step from positive to negative abuse.