Did U.S. spooks have a court order to listen to his conversations? Why?
February 14, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – “WSJ” – A White House spokesman said Monday that President Trump is “evaluating the situation” regarding national security adviser Michael Flynn over his pre-inaugural contacts with Russian officials. (See the editorial nearby.) While the President is at it, how about asking if the spooks listening to Mr. Flynn obeyed the law?
Mr. Flynn is a retired general who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, so surely he knew that his Dec. 29 call to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak would be subject to electronic surveillance. U.S. intelligence services routinely get orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor foreign officials. But under U.S. law, when they get those orders they are supposed to use “minimization” procedures that don’t let them listen to the communications of Americans who may be caught in such eavesdropping. That is, they are supposed to protect the identity and speech of innocent Americans. Yet the Washington Post, which broke the story, says it spoke to multiple U.S. officials claiming to know what Mr. Flynn said on that call.
The questions someone in the White House should ask the National Security Agency is why it didn’t use minimization procedures to protect Mr. Flynn? Or did it also have a court order to listen to Mr. Flynn, and how did it justify that judicial request?
If Mr. Flynn was under U.S. intelligence surveillance, then Mr. Trump should know why, and at this point so should the American public. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation, but the Trump White House needs to know what’s going on with Mr. Flynn and U.S. spies.