The Ohio Star just landed themselves one HELL of an exclusive scoop. Can you imagine what the big papers might have found if they wanted to dig up dirt on Obama-era corruption?
But ‘Democracy dies in Darkness’… the darkness cast by the shadow of an inept and complicit press across the nation they ought to inform.
Fortunately, not everything in America is filtered through just two or three newsrooms.
One unnamed whistleblower in the Treasury Department noticed some curious metadata and didn’t take long to make sense of what it meant.
President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department regularly surveilled retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s financial records and transactions beginning in December 2015 and well into 2017, before, during and after when he served at the White House as President Donald Trump’s National Security Director, a former senior Treasury Department official, and veteran of the intelligence community, told the Star Newspapers.
…By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.
…Only two names are listed in the whistleblower’s official paperwork, so the others must remain sealed, she said. The second name is Paul J. Manafort Jr., the one-time chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The other names include: Members of Congress, the most senior staffers on the 2016 Trump campaign and members of Trump’s family, she said.
“Another thing they would do is take targeted names from a certain database – I cannot name, but you can guess – and they were going over to an unclassified database and they were running those names in the unclassified database,” she said.
This ruse was to get around using classified resources to surveil Americans, she said. Once the Treasury personnel had enough information about someone they were targeting from the black box, they would go to the white box for faster and more informed search.
It was routine for these searches that had no criminal nor national security predicate, merely a political predicate, she said. — OhioStar
This is a big deal. It predates any possible predicate justifying the lawful surveillance of any of these parties.
This is, quite simply, a cynical and arrogant misuse of political power to spy on rivals for personal gain.
And it is entirely consistent with what we know about the Obama administration, under Clapper, spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
And consistent with what we know about how Obama’s administration used the apparatus of government against his political rivals by weaponizing the IRS against groups with Tea Party or Patriot in their name, during an election cycle.
And consistent with what we know about how Obama’s administration turned its spy powers against journalists.
In March 2017, she filed a formal whistleblower complaint with Acting Treasury Inspector General Richard K. Delmar, who continues in that office today, she said. Beyond Delmar acknowledging receipt of the complaint, the inspector general never followed up on the matter.
…The whistleblower filed a subsequent complaint with the Office of Special Counsel May 2017, which is the permanent office established to work with whistleblowers and is not related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
This surveillance program was run out of Treasury’s Office of Intelligence Analysis, which was then under the leadership of S. Leslie Ireland. Ireland came to OIA in 2010 after a long tenure at the Central Intelligence Agency and a one-year stint as Obama’s daily in-person intelligence briefer.
The whistleblower said Treasury should never have been part of the unmasking of Flynn, because its surveillance operation was off-the-books. That is to say, the Justice Department never gave the required approval to the Treasury program, and so there were no guidelines, approvals nor reports that would be associated with a DOJ-sanctioned domestic surveillance operation.
“Accessing this information without approved and signed attorney general guidelines would violate U.S. persons constitutional rights and civil liberties,” she said. [Emphasis added] — OhioStar
Among other things, this would mean Obama was spying on Trump’s team before there was any reason to suspect anyone of wrongdoing.
And if this checks out… Manafort should stand a good chance of getting the whole case against him thrown out for recklessly violating his civil liberties.
And the people who were doing this spying might want to get themselves a good lawyer… or start striking deals while there are still deals to be struck.