Among the most disturbing Obama-era scandals unearthed following President Trump’s inauguration is Obama’s spying on the Trump campaign using US intelligence resources.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Carter Page, a close Trump associate, was under Obama surveillance as early as 2014. This suggests that the Obama administration was spying on Trump and his inner circle much earlier than previously believed.
Page is an oil industry consultant who is the founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital in New York. Page worked closely with Trump during the 2016 presidential election, serving as a foreign policy advisor to the campaign.
Even before the appointment of the special counsel under Robert Mueller, Page–along with Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort–was at the core of investigations into supposed Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Page, whose work is deeply immersed in the global oil industry, has had business dealings with Russian firms over the course of his career. This led to speculation among Democrats that he had colluded with Russia to the benefit of the Trump campaign.
However, The Washington Examiner also noted that the congressional committees examining Russian involvement in the 2016 election have not taken Page up on his willingness to testify. This casts doubt on the sincerity of lawmakers to verify the veracity of their claims.
The Obama administration’s use of intelligence agencies to spy on the Trump campaign for political purposes has sparked controversy. The surveillance, combined with the unmasking of Americans, was used to damage the credibility of the incoming Trump administration.
As Fox News reported, The House Intelligence Committee, under Devin Nunes (R-CA), revealed that hundreds of unmasking requests were made by Obama officials. These included the unmasking of close Trump associates.
Major players in the Obama administration, such as former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and former Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, have been called by the House Intelligence Committee for questioning. Rice famously denied involvement in the damaging leaks. As covered by NBC News, Rice asserted, “I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would.”
Rice’s curiously-worded denial of direct involvement with leaks does not exclude her potential involvement with the surveillance and unmasking. The leak itself could have been carried out by any employee. It was this unmasking of Americans, which requires high-level authorization, that damaged the Trump administration.
Mounting evidence is proving that the Obama administration used the intelligence community to spy on the Trump campaign. Should the Department of Justice start an investigation into the political spying of the Obama administration?
Trump’s first pick for National Security Advisor, Gen. Mike Flynn, stepped down after the leaks of his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US. Rice is one of the chief suspects in the leak investigation.
The Daily Caller reported that Rice ordered intelligence agencies to create detailed spreadsheets of their findings on the Trump team. There was certainly motive and incentive to harm the incoming Trump team. In the case of the Obama administration, partisan politics seemingly took precedence over national security and the rule of law–to the detriment of America’s intelligence institutions.