In a piece from a couple of days ago, “FISA Court Says FBI Lied to Them, Illegally Spied,” I noted that Joe diGenova had called Admiral Mike Rogers a hero for being the one who discovered illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign. If you’d like to get into the weeds on this, I found a great archival story from Jeff Carlson, “An American Hero and the Death of a FISA Narrative,” dated January 10, 2018, that offers a great deal of detail and perspective on Rogers’ role in uncovering it. (Link below.)
As I thought, then-National Security Agency Director Rogers appears to have been the person who briefed President-elect Trump on the surveillance being conducted at Trump Tower. On November 17, 2016, Rogers went there to meet with Trump –- without informing his boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. On that same day, the Trump transition team abruptly announced they were leaving Trump Tower and moving their operations to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Two days later, the Washington Post reported that James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ash Carter had recommended the removal of Mike Rogers from his NSA position. That didn’t happen, but Rogers announced his retirement on January 5, 2018 --- five days before Carlson’s piece was written --- after heading the National Security Agency for nearly four years.
Carlson makes the case that Trump Tower didn’t necessarily have to be officially targeted because the government was already sweeping up data anyway under the “702” program. The Obama administration didn’t really need a DOJ- or FBI-driven FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, as THE ENTIRE SYSTEM of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance and data collection were weaponized against Trump. Maybe they’d been operating with a warrant, and maybe they hadn’t. To quote:
“The implication being, the Trump Dossier was not created to allow for spying on the Trump Campaign. The Dossier was created to obtain a FISA Warrant to cover surveillance activity that had already taken place.
“That may well have been the origin of the Trump Dossier creation --- to create a rationale for previous illegal surveillance activity. But heroic actions taken by Admiral Mike Rogers stopped the plan from being implemented. The FISA Court had been warned.
“Our entire intelligence apparatus was weaponized to alter a Presidential Election,” it concludes. “The chain of activity may rise all the way to the top. How does a nation prepare itself to deal with that level of criminality?”
I find it interesting that there was a story just last week about a possible end to the very disturbing “702” program of maintaining the giant repository of phone records on all Americans. The reason given publicly was that the amount of data was just too great to deal with and wasn’t worth the effort blah blah blah. But I’m wondering if it has something to do with this issue --- of the potential for abuse due in part to the ability to reverse-engineer a surveillance warrant to justify surveillance that has already taken place! If that can be done, no one’s communications, even going back years, are safe. Perhaps Mike Rogers has been working behind the scenes to help end that program. I haven’t seen anyone else connect the dots this way, but it sure makes sense. At any rate, Mike Rogers really is a hero for helping expose what was being done to Trump.
There’s another piece I’d like to give you for the weekend that’s quite long and even farther into the weeds, but it really tells the story of what Admiral Rogers was dealing with. Here’s just a sample:
“There is little doubt the FISA-702(16)(17) database system was used by Obama-era officials, from 2012 to April 2016, as a way to spy on their political opposition. Quite simply there is no other intellectually honest explanation for the scale and volume of intelligence abuse that was taking place.
“When we reconcile what was taking place and who was involved, then the actions of the exact same principle participants take on a jaw-dropping amount of clarity.
“All of the action taken by CIA Director Brennan, FBI Director Comey, ODNI Clapper and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter makes sense. Including their effort to get NSA Director Mike Rogers fired.
“Everything after March 9, 2016, was done to cover up the weaponizing of the FISA database. Spygate, Russia-gate, the Steele dossier...were needed to create a cover-story and protect themselves from discovery of this four year weaponization, political surveillance and unlawful spying. Even the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel makes sense; he was FBI director when this began.”
If this sample is intriguing to you, I encourage you to read the whole thing, or at least the last part, under the subhead “How this all comes together in 2019.” This really is looking more and more like the scandal of our time –- perhaps the greatest abuse of power in our history –- so even if our country had to go through this farce of an “investigation” into Trump in order to find out about it, I’m actually tempted to say it was worth it.