CIA vs. Trump: Surveillance Scandal Rocks Nation

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A comprehensive investigation revealed by independent reporters Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and Alex Gutentag has brought to light accusations regarding the activities of the US Intelligence Community before the 2016 presidential election. 

The investigation, which was shared on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack podcast, highlights that ex-CIA Chief John Brennan was instrumental in pinpointing and recommending surveillance of 26 Donald Trump associates to the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance. This group comprises spy agencies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The sources, unnamed but reportedly close to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, led by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), indicate that these individuals were targeted for “bumping,” a term in espionage that refers to creating pretexts for initiating contact or establishing relationships with potential intelligence targets. 

This technique aimed to manipulate or collect intelligence from those within Trump’s circle. The report suggests that such activities were part of a broader effort to investigate alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, an accusation that has significantly impacted American politics.

The investigation into these surveillance activities has brought to light the involvement of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in contacting Trump associates as early as March 2016. Despite the gravity of these allegations, a spokesperson for GCHQ has denied any claims of being asked to conduct wiretapping against the then president-elect, dismissing such suggestions as “nonsense.”

This controversy stems from a broader inquiry into the FBI’s probe of Trump-Russia collusion claims, which after a four-year-long investigation by Special Counsel John Durham was found to have no basis in evidence. Durham’s investigation criticized the FBI for hastily launching an investigation based on unverified intelligence, highlighting significant procedural flaws and biases in the bureau’s approach to the Trump-Russia inquiry.

Moreover, the legal ramifications of these surveillance activities have come under scrutiny. Warrantless surveillance of US persons is explicitly prohibited under US law. The report also references the situation involving ex-FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who received a probation sentence in 2021 following his confession to altering an email used to extend a wiretap on Carter Page, a previous adviser to the Trump campaign.

Despite the controversies and criticisms surrounding the FBI’s conduct, the bureau has stated that it has implemented dozens of corrective actions since the improper probe into Trump. These reforms aim to prevent future missteps that could undermine the integrity of its investigations.

The details surrounding the surveillance of Trump associates and the subsequent investigations into Russian collusion highlight a complex interplay of intelligence operations, legal boundaries, and political implications. The allegations of foreign intelligence involvement in surveilling American political figures underscore the intricate relationships within international intelligence networks and their impact on domestic politics.

As this story unfolds, the whereabouts of a “10-inch binder,” purportedly containing evidence of misconduct by US intelligence officials and ordered to be declassified by Trump at the end of his presidency, remain unknown. This binder is said to contain raw intelligence and details of the FBI’s investigation into Trump and his campaign, raising questions about transparency, accountability, and the extent of surveillance practices.

This case continues to evoke discussions on the balance between national security interests and individual rights, the impartiality of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the political ramifications of their actions. 

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