Are we really surprised?
Surprised to find out former President Obama may have used the power of his office to request that his National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, conduct surveillance on then presidential candidate Trump, his staff, his transition team and foreign dignitaries? And that these spying techniques were used over a year ago?
It appears the identities of those who were spied upon may have been “unmasked” for political reasons, and Senator Rand Paul wants to find out the truth! Is the onus all on Susan Rice, or her former boss, Barack Obama?
From Western Journalism:
Allegations that former national security director Susan Rice unmasked Trump transition officials are only the tip of the iceberg, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Wednesday.
Paul noted that if the privacy of Americans connected to the Trump team could be violated, so could the privacy of millions of others. He also had a question he said Rice needs to answer.
“Did the president direct you to eavesdrop and sift through intelligence?” Paul said.
“If someone were investigating the Trump administration, it ought to be the FBI not someone in the White House,” Paul added. “She’s a political appointee that reports directly to the president.”
Paul said the American people need some straight answers, which have not been forthcoming.
“I don’t think she answered the question, ‘Did she unmask people in the Trump administration?’ She said, ‘Maybe I did, but I didn’t do it for political reasons,’” Paul said. “I think it’s incumbent on her to show to the American people why it wouldn’t have been a political reason.”
The broader issue, according to Paul, is the attack on American’s privacy.
“Did you know that over a million Americans’ phone calls are listened to without a warrant?” he said. “We need to protect American privacy. We can’t allow intelligence to be used for political purposes.”
“The fact that there could be a political figure in the Obama administration that was purposely searching a database, looking for Trump officials, I think confirms exactly what the president said when he said that the Obama administration was doing something nefarious with regard to surveillance on his transition team. And it sounds like they were,” Paul said Tuesday.
He told Fox News that there was no “legitimate reason for [Rice] to be searching a database and unmasking people.”
“This is a real separation of powers issue. And it shouldn’t be happening,” he added.
“Millions of Americans’ data and phone calls are in this data bank,” Paul said. “We should not let political figures search this data bank for political purpose or for any kind of personal purposes.”
“For years, both progressives and libertarians have been complaining about these backdoor searches,” Paul said Tuesday on MSNBC.
“It’s not that we’re searching maybe one foreign leader and who they talk to; we search everything in the whole world. There were reports a couple of years ago that all of Italy’s phone calls were absorbed in a one-month period of time. We were getting Merkel’s phone calls; we were getting everybody’s phone calls,” Paul continued.
“But by rebound we are collecting millions of Americans’ phone calls. If you want to look at an American’s phone call or listen to it, you should have to have a warrant, the old-fashioned way in a real court where both sides get represented.”
There has been an obvious abuse of power in the Obama administration that needs to be addressed on constitutional grounds and safeguards put in place to ensure that it never happens again.
Otherwise, Americans will have to get used to living in a fishbowl!