Was a last minute (final week) change in government policy instituted by President Obama meant as a measure to undermine the Trump administration?
That’s the question being asked in the Daily Caller today, after a story in Circa made major headlines early Thursday morning. U.S. officials, who spoke with Circa on the condition that they remain anonymous, explained that a rule change made by the Obama administration just 8 days before leaving office has led to the havoc that we are currently seeing in the intelligence community.
Obama changed the way National Security Agency intelligence is shared 8 days before leaving office, which allows globally intercepted communications to be disseminated across the entire intelligence community.
The change was part of a post-9/11 push by the executive branch to increase intelligence sharing, to ensure that NSA analysts do not miss critically important information. The change is “simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said at the time.
Obama administration officials also scrambled to spread classified intelligence related to Russian meddling in the 2016 election to as many people within the U.S. government as possible. These officials said they spread the intelligence around to ensure Trump administration officials would not be able to quash the investigation. The officials also fought to keep the related intelligence at a low-classified level, giving more officers access to the raw information.
However as the officials made clear to Circa the people who now have the classified information in their hands don’t actually understand what it is they are reading, seeing, or even saying!
“We have people spouting off who don’t know the difference between FISA surveillance and a wiretap or a counterintelligence probe versus a special prosecutor, and it has hurts our ability to get to the truth and has wrongly created the impression that intelligence officials have a political agenda,” said one source directly familiar with the drama.
The information collected really has nothing to do with Trump or his team, it’s all about Russia, but because of the Obama administration’s meddling, the entire story has become convoluted and the media’s distortion is only making matters worse. While the FBI did briefly monitor one of President Trump’s servers, they found nothing illegal and they most certain did not intercept any emails or phone calls from the Trump team.
Sadly, because of the mess that the Obama team has created the intelligence community will now have a far more difficult time simply doing their job.
Many of the leaks have surfaced since former President Barack Obama in his waning days in office had his intelligence leadership brief a wider than normal audience about the sensitive Russia surveillance. Those leaks have created a false narrative that the FBI has been predominantly focused on Trump ties to Russia, officials said.
In fact, any FBI activity involving the president’s associates or advisers was mostly ancillary to a wider counterintelligence probe into Russian efforts to influence the election or curry favor with U.S. figures, the sources said.
“The (Trump-Russia) narrative in the media hasn’t been our primary focus and mostly involves pieces of information that came in incidentally. We check them out and we move on,” one official said, adding most of the work has involved old-fashioned investigative tactics and not surveillance.
Added another official: “I’ve never seen a case so misrepresented and leaks so damaging to a process that was meant to be conducted in secret so that foreign powers don’t know what we know and people’s reputations aren’t tarnished unfairly.”
When will the media divert their attention from President Trump, who has neither caused nor exacerbated these problems, and look to the real epicenter of our troubles – Barack Obama?
All roads lead back to the FORMER President when it comes to the ongoing chaos surrounding Russia, the election, and the intelligence community.