by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If the revelation earlier this month that Big Tech executives continued to spy on Donald Trump after the 2016 election and into his presidency was an isolated incident, it would not be a grave concern. But once you step back and see the pattern of behavior by those in power to spy on and systematically undermine a democratically elected president, every citizen should be concerned.
When the FBI first opened its investigation into allegations that candidate Trump was coordinating with Russia, the FBI inspector general reported that the leadership of the FBI “hand-picked” the team that would conduct “one of the most sensitive FBI investigations” in the agency’s history. These were supposed to be agents of the highest character and professionalism.
But instead of producing high-quality, ethical work, this FBI team committed “at least 17 significant errors and omissions” while spying on the Trump campaign, according to an IG report. In addition to omitting and inaccurately stating relevant facts when first applying for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order to spy on a Trump campaign official (Carter Page), an FBI official has since pleaded guilty to falsifying documents given to the FISC to renew the spying efforts. The lawyer convicted of lying to the court received an exceedingly light sentence of probation.
However, the “senior U.S. governmental official” who separately leaked signals intelligence to columnist David Ignatius about Michael Flynn has still not been caught. Unlike the FISC-sanctioned spying on Carter Page, the intelligence community had every right to be listening in on the phone calls of Russian diplomats in the United States. What is not legal, however, is leaking the content of those calls to journalists. …
… Any one of these stories would be alarming enough by itself. But taken together, they show a coordinated effort between the most powerful elements of Big Tech, Big Media, and Big Government to use any means necessary to spy on and embarrass a legitimately elected president.