Two weeks have passed since President Donald Trump tweeted accusations of 'wiretapping' directed at the Obama administration, and the responses are still all over the map.
With new information brought up by House Intel Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), the claims were thrust back into the spotlight — and former CIA senior intelligence officer, Col. Tony Shaffer made an appearance on “Fox and Friends” on March 25 to discuss the topic.
He began by stating that the “basic fundamentals” of the president's claims were true, although he suggested that it wasn't a literal “wiretap” of Trump Tower — but rather a more general data collection that affected the entire campaign team.
“We know that there was some data collected that was not related to the Russia investigation or the Russia issue that has now come forward.”
Fox News Insider reported:
He said that Trump was not physically wiretapped, with a wire into his phone, and it may not have physically been Trump Tower, but his campaign apparatus instead.
Shaffer said that due to the simplicity required to “mask” an American's name during an incidental wiretap, that the leak of Gen. Michael Flynn's name was “accidental on purpose.”
“Clearly they were after gossip because it was political,” Shaffer said, maintaining that the alleged wiretap had nothing to do with Russia.
The “political appointees” in the intelligence community knew exactly what they were surveilling for, Shaffer said, adding that the case is “much worse than Watergate by an order of magnitude.”
Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward, who reported on much of the Watergate scandal, noted during an interview with Bill O'Reilly that the legality of the surveillance was questionable — and that revealing the names was likely criminal.
Fox News Insider had that story as well:
“The idea that there was intelligence value was really thin,” Woodward said.
“You've got this really serious problem potentially of people in the Obama administration passing around this highly classified gossip,” Woodward said.
He called the leaking of such names “inappropriate” and possibly illegal. If Nunes' statements are true, it would be a “gross violation.”
And Shaffer agreed — his final assessment was practically an indictment: “Even if the surveillance was done legally, the 'unmasking' of Americans' names and the leaking of the information are probably felony level crimes.”