Spygate – Obama’s Political Abuse and Weaponizing of America’s Intelligence Capability

While former National Security Advisor Susan Rice tried to both obstruct and obfuscate her actual involvement in directing and ordering the unmasking of an unknown number of Americans, as has been continuously reported over the past several weeks — there is obviously much more to her unmasking role. Susan Rice wasn’t the only person asking that American citizens be unmasked and it wasn’t only General Flynn who was unmasked. The illegal activities are apparently more widespread and go on longer than first believed.

Those of us who have worked deep inside the U.S. intelligence community thoroughly understand the requirements, the methodology, the process, and the implications involved in “unmasking”. Because of the matters of classification and the “need to know” security requirement, most are completely unfamiliar and need to understand that unmasking is the naming of private American citizens who phone conversations and or emails transmissions are picked up by the National Security Agency (NSA) multiple levels of surveillance capabilities during the collection of such communications and or transmissions with foreign entities. Americans are masked in accordance with our 4th Amendment, that is, their identity is required to be redacted and protected under the law, as established in Executive Order 12333 and U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18).

Under the law, to unmask for political reasons, or to leak classified information containing Americans names is illegal. That appears to be what the Obama administration might have done. As a result, according to multiple sources of reporting, new information, according to officials familiar with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunez (R-CA) – at least two U.S. citizens were unmasked. Further, according to those closely involved with the ongoing investigation of the unmasking, leaking, and surveillance by the Obama administration, have indicated the names of two private U.S. citizens who were part of Mr. Trump’s transition team have been unmasked in multiple intelligence reports. One of course, is General Flynn, while the other has not been identified, but his conversations with the Russian ambassador where collected by U.S. intelligence and transcribed in the highly classified reports reviewed by Chairman Nunes and Congressman Schiff in their recent visits to the White House’s NSC facility.

We now know that Ms. Rice had requested the unmasking of at least one additional Trump transition team official other than that of General Flynn who was part of multiple foreign conversations that were not related to Russian surveillance at all.

In addition, it wasn’t only Ms. Rice seeking unmasking, an apparent intelligence community official who has remained anonymous, along with several others have indicated that Ms. Rice initial was not the Obama administration official who instigated General Flynn’s unmasking.

Certainly, National Security Advisor Rice’s motives are extremely suspicious. And to that end, I felt the need to validate the National Review’s reporter Andy McCarthy’s position in his April 4th online article in which he explained why Susan Rice’s motive was logically and wholly political, indeed. I did so on the Laura Ingraham radio show on April 5th.

To better understand this, look at the role and responsibility of the President’s (Obama) National Security Adviser, Susan Rice. First, Ms. Rice is not an investigator; she is a White House senior staffer, nor is she an intelligence official– making her a user of intelligence for the purpose of developing, corroborating, and coordinating U.S national security policy, period. Second, she does not generate or collect intelligence, but rather she is a consumer, responsible for informing the President and principle members of the NSC of threats, implications, and consequences to U.S. policy and the nation. If she unmasked Americans, it was to fulfill a political goal based on her party’s interests, to include perhaps those of the President – which is necessary to find out. Third, it is primarily the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, along with several other agencies that have multi-faceted roles that establish requirements, generate, and collect intelligence on behalf of other departments and the military services within the national security community.

Further, in multiple news interviews over the last several days, Ms. Rice said she did not ask for the identity of any American person to leak the information. In her show’s discussion, Laura Ingraham, like many of us following this scandal wonder if Ms. Rice used a double negative on purpose. This raises the specific questions; first being, did she mention the leaking as a distraction in order to deny it? The second is that if Ms. Rice did not leak the intelligence, than someone did and gave it to both the Washington Post and the New York Times. By doing so, someone committed a felony. To make the point clearer, General Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador were revealed based on intelligence-level detail, essentially highly classified information. Whoever was behind this committed multiple felonies, in the unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence information and the leaking of the unmasked name of a private American citizen.

Going back to March 22nd, Susan Rice, further lied, when she said she “knew nothing” about what Chairman Nunes was talking about when he gave his press conference saying that intelligence on American citizens tied to Donald Trump was leaked and had nothing to do with the so-called Russian hacking and the contrived-narrative of Trump’s business associates collusion with the Russian government’s effort and attempt to influence the U.S. Elections. As a result, this indicates she could be lying again on that aspect. I certainly think so, considering he has a consistent track-record, certainly since at least the Benghazi attack in 2012.

Surprisingly now, in her series of media interviews this past week, Ms. Rice claimed she had requested unmasking of numerous pieces of information in order to better understand the communications. That by no means is under her purview nor her responsibilities as the National Security Advisor, which again is that of a consumer of intelligence, as previously noted.

Many political pundits are saying it might be hard to prove in court that Ms. Rice was conducting the unmasking for political purposes since she could conceivably label anything of “foreign intelligence value” under the statute. However, the definition is limited to criminal conduct type of behavior or its national security equivalent meaning, Ms. Rice and senior Obama administration officials and Democrat supports are attempting to imply and claim that General Flynn was trying to subvert Obama administration foreign policy. The classified transcripts of Flynn’s conversation prove that is a far-fetched and completely false. That alone, more than likely will leave Ms. Rice vulnerable. In fact, interpretation of Constitutional law clearly states that neither the 1st nor the 4th Amendments has a “talking to foreigners’ clause as an exception”.

So now we come to the other question of the weaponizing of the security and intelligence organizations and apparatus for illicit and specific political purposes. Earlier this week, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh boiled down the complex web of surveillance stories regarding the Trump team into one simple concept: the Obama administration declared a very secret war on President Donald Trump using America’s intelligence services as his weapon.

As we recall, President Trump first alerted America to the surveillance issue when he tweeted back on March 4th that he was “wiretapped” by former President Barack Obama. Trump’s claims were initially met with denials and criticism primarily because of the use of the term wiretap. However, it was reported on April 3rd that Obama’s former national security adviser played a prior unannounced role of unmasking the members of the Trump transition team and associates from their legal communications which Ms. Rice conveniently claimed were incidental by-products of normal and routine foreign surveillance.

In his analysis Mr. Limbaugh further professed that that this latest detail reveals a conspiracy of epic proportions, noting that the real scandal here that it is becoming increasingly clear that the Obama administration has essentially weaponized politically for that intent and purposes, our intelligence services and capabilities and used them against the Presidential candidate and subsequent President-Elect Donald Trump.

Since at least March 4th we now know that the Obama administration used our intelligence community’s electronic surveillance capabilities against member of the Trump’s transition team. We also know now that the Obama White House unmasked people who were not targets of legitimate foreign surveillance and investigation that was a perceived or know threat to America’s national security. Further, we also know now that the Obama White House deliberately and intentionally for explicit political purposes illegally leaked protected intelligence information on U.S. persons specifically to damage and destroy those individuals and to delegitimize the elected and sitting President of the United States of America.

Further, Mr. Limbaugh astutely identified the fact that mainstream media outlets were deliberately and voluntarily being used, as well as willfully sharing the critical pieces of information from politically appointed holdovers turned anti-Trump leakers burrowed in the Obama and now Trump administrations. As a result, we now know that there obviously had to be unmasking, and we know that names surfaced in the media as the result of leaking. Even the mainstream media proudly told us that sources who could not be identified were feeding them the data and classified information. We now know unfortunately what is extremely damning, is that the media was complicit in this effort to go after the Trump administration and its members.

The Obama administration and its operatives are not to be played for fools, but rather certainly criminals and treasonous insurgents, who knew that U.S. law forbid direct surveillance of American citizens and without proof that did not exist — the Obama administration politicos found a novel way to indirectly eavesdrop on the Trump transition team.

In turn, the Obama administration operatives chose surveillance targets knowing that they would likely be talking to specific Americans as part of the transition process prior to January 20th — wanting to see what those specific Americans were talking about. So while they were prevented from being authorized FISA warrants, for obvious reasons to target Americans, they purposely targeted for surveillance specific foreign diplomats and heads of state that they knew the Trump transition people would most likely be talking to, and learned what they were saying using the illegal usurped process to collect the classified conversations. As well, we learned this week, that’s the reason why Ms. Rice was requesting that these Americans be unmasked so that she and President Obama and whoever else was involved in this rogue operation, could better understand who was being talked about, and who was saying what.

Even more concerning, we now know that Mr. Trump had been surveilled for a nearly a year. We also know that the Obama administration was responsible for the unmasking and obviously the leaking to its connections and colleagues in the major mainstream media organizations. And we also know that it was Ms. Rice, who lied on five Sunday talk shows about Benghazi, we know that it was Ms. Rice who requested the unmasking of all of these Trump officials.

“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.”

There still are a lot of unanswered questions and assumptions that need to be asked and answers provided. Such as, were the NSA and other intelligence organizations and agencies weaponized for political purposes prior to 2016?  If so, for how many years? Since when, and for how long? Was Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney surveilled leading up to, and during that presidential campaign of 2012? Were other Republican and Congressional candidates also targeted by intelligence community assets? Who specifically directed and ordered this? It is the responsibility of both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House to get this right and stop playing games with this phony false-fake narrative about Trump associates collusion with Russia and Putin, wide spread Russian hacking and influence to change people’s minds in who to vote for last November. Concerned Americans smell blood in the water and want answers.

Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served combat and combat-support tours in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as on numerous special operations and special mission intelligence contingencies in Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units, and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force, as well as in international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism. He is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC — which provides strategic and operational security analysis and assessments to governmental and private entities, as well as media organizations on national security issues, policy, and processes. He currently provides advisory and consulting services on national security, international strategic policy, and strategy assessments for the U.S. and foreign private sector and governments entities, media groups and outlets, and to political groups, forums, and political candidates. He is an author and writer providing regular commentary and opinion to national and local TV, radio networks, and for both print and online publications, as well as speaking engagements to business, political, civic and private groups on national security matters – focusing on international strategic policy and engagement, and strategic intelligence, and subject matter expertise on special mission intelligence and operations, counter-terrorism, and asymmetric warfare and conflict.