It’s getting harder and harder to deny the fact that Barack Obama spied on Donald Trump and his campaign.
The latest revelations that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice ordered the unmasking of Trump officials and family members sent shockwaves through the political world.
And the end result could be jail time.
Journalist Mike Cernovich broke the story that Susan Rice was the Obama official behind the unmasking of Trump officials caught up in surveillance.
Normally, Americans are supposed to have their identities concealed when intelligence agencies report the contents of intercepted calls.
But high ranking officials – which would include the National Security Advisor – have the ability to unmask Americans if there is intelligence value.
Now one expert argues Rice may have broken the law.
Writing on LawNewz, Robert Barnes argues Rice could face criminal prosecution for the unmasking of Trump officials.
“The law imposes criminal sanctions on government officials who “engage in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized” by statutes and governing regulations implementing those statutes. This same criminal law makes a person “guilty of an offense” if she intentionally “discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained” in a manner “not authorized” by law. Notably, the law enforcement defense is limited to “law enforcement or investigative officer” cleared to do so by a search warrant or court order. The crime imposes a term of imprisonment up to sixty months in a federal prison. The point of the law criminalizing rogue agents either intercepting Americans’ conversations illicitly or unmasking they identities illegally is to protect against rogue government agents from abusing the most powerful surveillance means ever developed to invade the free speech, free thought, free expression and intimate privacy rights of all Americans.“
While Rice could order unmasking if the information had possessed foreign intelligence value, was that the case here?
Barnes argues her decision could have been criminal:
“Some defenders of Rice suggests she could label anything she wanted of “foreign intelligence value,” under the implementing regulatory protocols and thereby label it “foreign intelligence information” under the statute. The law is not so broad. Instead, the statute requires “foreign intelligence information” be “necessary to” the “conduct” of “foreign affairs” and to the person’s position, and further employs a more limiting specific definition in the regulations in USSID for warrant-less seizures, as necessary to make it constitutional under the 4th Amendment. That definition is limited to criminal conduct type behavior, or its security equivalent. That is why the regulatory protocols give specific “examples of the type of information that meet this standard” of “foreign intelligence value.” What are those examples? Criminal-type behavior or imminent security risks. Why those restrictions? Because that makes it conform to the First and Fourth Amendment limitations on the intercept of Americans’ private political conversations. The examples are not prohibitive of like conduct being included, but it must be like conduct — e.g., criminal-type behavior or imminent-safety risk. Why? So it can be constitutional under the 4th Amendment, because the act of unmasking is an act of invading Americans’ privacy, covered by the 4th Amendment, and political speech in private is a right protected by the First Amendment. This is the biggest mistake the Obama defenders have been making, and reflects their lack of understanding of the law’s Constitutional context and legislative history. Put most simply, neither the 1st Amendment nor the 4th Amendment has a “talking to foreigners” exception.”
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton agreed.
He said in an interview that she – and anyone who helped her – face serious legal problems.
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) April 3, 2017
This scandal is getting more serious by the day.
With each new revelation, it’s becoming harder for the media to deny that Obama spied on Trump and that his administration illegally leaked the contents of intercepted calls for political gain.
Susan Rice may just be the tip of the iceberg.
We will keep you updated on any new developments in this story.