Levin: Trump isn't the first victim of Obama's police state tactics
Many of the same apparent “police state tactics” justified by “Democrat ruse” surrounding the Left’s Trump-Russia theories were first used by the Obama administration to monitor and bully Jewish nonprofits and activists opposed to that administration’s wrangling on the Iran Deal, Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin said on his Tuesday radio program.
If Donald Trump’s team was indeed the victim of politically-motivated surveillance and leaks by the Obama administration, it may not have been the first, says Levin.
“This whole Democrat ruse, media ruse has been used to conduct domestic surveillance,” said Levin of the Left’s pervasive, unsupported Russia-Trump conspiracy theories. “And it was done before; it was done widely before in the Iran deal.”
Levin was referring to a Tablet Magazine story written by Lee Smith that examined whether or not Donald Trump was the first domestic political opponent targeted by Obama’s alleged spy-game:
In a December 29, 2015 article, The Wall Street Journal described how the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on Israeli officials to understand how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, like Ambassador Ron Dermer, intended to fight the Iran Deal. The Journal reported that the targeting “also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.
Despite this reporting, it seemed inconceivable at the time that—given myriad legal, ethical, political, and historical concerns, as well as strict National Security Agency protocols that protect the identity of American names caught in intercepts—the Obama White House would have actually spied on American citizens. In a December 31, 2016, Tablet article on the controversy, “Why the White House Wanted Congress to Think It Was Being Spied on By the NSA,” I argued that the Obama administration had merely used the appearance of spying on American lawmakers to corner opponents of the Iran Deal. Spying on U.S. citizens would be a clear abuse of the foreign-intelligence surveillance system. It would be a felony offense to leak the names of U.S. citizens to the press.
The story goes on to discuss the possible workings of the Obama White House’s spying on pro-Israel activists during the Iran deal.
“The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism — activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners,” a pro-Israel activist told the outlet. “We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”
“This administration was caught red-handed,” Levin said, two years ago, while big players like Susan Rice, James Clapper, and John Brennan were in key intelligence positions while Obama was receiving the intelligence. “They all need to testify under penalty of perjury.”
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Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, immigration, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook.