Government as Weapon


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.

  • BasicCaruso

    The mistake here is that you appear to think the corporate media in the U.S. represents “the left”, which is laughable except when viewed through the lens of the extreme right. The actual left sees this as the real story (of course the left warned of the dangers of the surveillance state since the Bush administration while sites like this one turned a blind eye).
    We are now in a position to see the real story behind “Russiagate.” It’s not about Russia, except incidentally. The Obama regime abused the government’s surveillance powers and spied on Donald Trump and other Republicans in order to build a dossier for the DNC to leak to the press in an attempt to slander or compromise Trump and throw the election to Hillary…

    This is where the crime lies. Obama regime and DNC were using these agencies for domestic political use, KGB style.

  • Guest

    Justin, I’m surprised you would write about and claim the Obama administration was spying (which is against the law because we are talking
    about USA Citizens which are fully protected by the USA Constitution) on Donald Trump before he became president based on undocumented hearsay claims. I guess this is an example of “False News” President Donald Trump is talking about!

    The USA Constitution and subsequent USA Congressional enacted
    laws which govern the intelligence community on what they can and cannot do are very extensive and require approval from a special court of law before any covert action can commence. Plus there are laws that protect USA citizens inadvertently or mistakenly swept up in the collection net of foreign nationals.

    GOP House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes abruptly recused himself temporarily from the Russia investigation because he himself might have
    disclosed classified information in trying to provide cover for President
    Donald Trump’s tweets which his movements in the White House and across the street in Executive Office Building are highly troubling.

    “CNN Exclusive: Classified docs contradict Nunes surveillance claims, GOP and Dem sources say By Jim Sciutto, Manu Raju and Eric Bradner, CNN Updated 8:20 PM ET, Tue April 11, 2017”:

    Both GOP and DEMs have read the documents Representative Devin
    Nunes referenced as a “smoking gun” about Obama national security adviser Susan Rice; Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal.