The president has accused his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower
by Howie Katz
Early in my career as a law enforcement officer there were no legal requirements to conduct wiretaps. Police agencies that had wiretapping equipment frequently listened in on the phone conversations of persons suspected of engaging in criminal activities. Agencies that did not have the wherewithal to conduct wiretaps relied on the state police or neighboring police departments to conduct the taps for them.
When it came to light that some of these taps were being misused, laws were enacted requiring law enforcement agencies to obtain a court order based on probable cause to conduct this type of surveillance. The laws went even further than that, requiring the police, after a certain period of time had passed, to notify the person being surveilled that his phone had been tapped.
In addition to the wiretaps, police occasionally also hid microphones inside the homes of suspects so that conversations held in close proximity could be picked up by officers nearby on the outside. The courts also ruled that the police were required to obtain a court order before planting a microphone inside any suspect’s house.
On Saturday, President Trump accused former President Obama of having Trump Tower wiretapped before the presidential election. Without citing any evidence,he made his accusation in the following four tweets:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
The media has been consumed with whether or not a FISA tap was used on Trump Tower under the Obama administration.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requires that the government must appear before a special FISA judge to obtain a wiretap order designed to gather foreign intelligence.
Since the Democrats have accused Trump staffers of having colluded with Russian agents, the media has assumed that any legal wiretaps on Trump Tower would have required the approval of a FISA judge. Obama and his staffers say Trump’s accusation is false and Obama’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, says there was no FISA wiretap ordered on Trump Tower.
Overlooked in all the hype about FISA is the possibility that an illegal wiretap may have been placed in Trump Tower. A black op using persons pretending to be from the phone company could have easily installed illegal taps in Trump’s campaign headquarters.
Would Obama or members of his administration resort to a black op illegal wiretap operation against Trump? Considering the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails, of course they would.
We may never find out whether Trump’s accusation is true or false. It is suspected that he obtained his information from the Breitbart News website, not the most reliable of news sources. A lot of Trump supporters like the president’s use of tweets to directly communicate with them. But questionable tweets could end up being the sword Trump falls on.
Howie Katz is a former law enforcement officer and retired criminal justice professor. In 1969 he founded the Texas Narcotic Officers Association. He currently resides in Houston, Texas. You can see more of his writing at http://barkgrowlbite.blogspot.com and http://theunconventionalgazette.blogspot.com.