How Spying on Americans and Political Opponents Became Fair Game

By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.

As an American citizen and resident of other countries (China and Lithuania) I suffered along with you through three years of listening to Washington D.C.’s paralyzing and monstrously destructive political infighting. Most of what we should have heard about in the world was either ignored or suffered in coverage as the press enlisted in the fight and chose sides.
My ongoing attention remains fixed on two issues—privacy and press responsibility. I personally don’t care which actors in this horrible cast of creatures you embrace. That said, as a lifelong journalist and civil liberties advocate, I see grave and immediate dangers now manifesting from the weaponizing of politics, the endless stream of abuses, and the collapse of critical constitutional protections.

Privacy or Politics?
For those of us who are unfamiliar about the nature of “masking/unmasking”, we are learning again how longstanding law and practice requires our intelligence agencies to “mask” or protect the names of American citizens who are naturally caught in the wide daily net of electronic intelligence gathering. This privacy act is done to strictly avoid domestic spying by these global agencies (e.g. NSA, CIA, DIA, etc). This protection happens UNLESS there is clear evidence provided to specifically allow “unmasking” of a U.S. citizen.
In the transition period after President Trump’s election and the last day of President Obama’s term in office, a coordinated effort led by President Obama, his White House staff, including Joe Biden by name, several highly political appointees and operatives, and the FBI, to individually apply and request to get copies of all spy records on Gen. Michael Thomas Flynn’s conversations with foreign nationals, including his conversations as part of his official role on the transition team as National Security Advisor to the president-elect.
What evidence was provided in documents signed by each of these 39 people to justify them gaining access to this bundle of classified “spy” data and conversations?
When that classified spy information was obtained and immediately “leaked” by one or more of them to the Washington Post, who did it and why?
Tucker Carlson explains succinctly what evidence is now only coming to light and why it matters.

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