22 Mar Trump’s Wiretapping Story: It’s About the Leaker
FBI Director James Comey continued in his self-appointed role of Master Puppeteer of Washington politics in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee yesterday.
He delighted Democrats, kept the GOP edgy, and Trump on his toes by confirming an ongoing investigation of Russian ‘collusion’ with Trump campaign operatives.
He attempted to put the lie to Trump’s tweets implying Obama administration-approved ‘wiretapping’ or other surveillance of Trump and his campaign, saying he had “no information” to support that accusation.
But he also worried Democrats by coming on strong about the seriousness of the crime of leaking surveillance results to the media. In responding to questioning by Congressman Trey Gowdy, he was forced to acknowledge that identification of the leaker of such items as the transcript of Mike Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador isn’t all that complicated of an investigation challenge, because there aren’t a huge number of government officials authorized to ‘unmask’ the identity of US citizens caught up in foreign surveillance.
What an impressive story Comey has set up to protect himself. Our guess is that he already knows the leaker, and the identity of the leaker speaks volumes as to the involvement and approval of Barack Obama and the most senior officials of his administration.
So if he doesn’t like threats to his power from Democrats, he can remind them that he can release the name of the leaker and cause the entire Democrat Party no end of pain, or he can extend the leaker investigation interminably and someday issue a statement that the FBI just couldn’t determine with adequate certainty who leaked the information.
Along the way, Comey holds the ‘get out of jail free’ card on Obama. To protect Obama, he can keep the fog stirring around the confirmed Russian investigation, thereby allowing Obama to insist that Trump was never targeted for surveillance but may have incidentally been spied upon in connection with a legitimate investigation of Trump associates.
But if Comey feels threatened by Obama, the release of the name of the leaker would put an end to that fog, and make it abundantly clear that Obama and his cabal were trying to accomplish a hit job on Trump, and the intricacies of FISA procedures are just a false exculpation sideshow.
If Comey doesn’t like threats to his power from Trump or the GOP, he can remind them that he can at any time release partial results of the Russian collusion investigation in ways that permit speculation along the infamous lines of ‘what did Trump know, and when did he know it?’, or he can extend the investigation for four years and issue a statement that there was a lot of smoke but no fire.
And in any case, he can’t be fired by Trump, because now the optics are too serious—“Trump, Under Investigation, Fires the Investigator = Impeach!”
The clear winner becomes James Comey, kingmaker (or king-breaker) and his worldview of right and wrong; the clear loser is the truth and the American people.
History is filled with characters too clever by half, and with leaders who think truth is a plaything for them to mold and shape as they see fit. Doesn’t end well for them, because truth is a power in and of itself.
James Comey seems to be riding high as Master Puppeteer now; we won’t be surprised if that doesn’t last.