FBI Director James Comey did a pretty good job Tuesday hemming and hawing before the House Intelligence Committee, but he revealed something near the end of the hearing that raised serious questions about who knew what about federal surveillance during the last days of the Obama administration
The director told South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy that he had no information to confirm President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, but we knew that already.
What Comey’s testimony did do, however, was indicate that senior officials in the Obama administration could have known the identities of certain targets of federal surveillance.
Targets like former Gen. Michael Flynn, who lost his job as national security adviser after it became known that he discussed sanctions relief in a conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the transition, which conflicted with his prior statements.
While a Russian ambassador would be under surveillance as a matter of routine, Flynn’s identity in the conversation should never have been revealed.
Regardless of how the Russian ambassador was being watched, the details of the operation that became public included classified information as well as the identity of a U.S. citizen, which in most cases should have been redacted, according to The New York Post.
However, Flynn’s name was not redacted. Instead, it was deliberately leaked to the media. This is a crime, and the only one known to have occurred related to the presidential election.
The Democrats are claiming that there was no surveillance of Trump, but they’re not explaining how reporters got their hands on Flynn’s name.
Gowdy, well aware of this, pointed to officials in the Obama administration who could be guilty of leaking the information. These names included Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director James Brennan, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Gowdy couldn’t prove anything, but he let it be known that those working for Obama could have broken the law, and Comey didn’t do much to assuage that suspicion. Fox News reported that the director couldn’t confirm that there was an investigation into the leaks at this time.
But maybe there should be.
This is the kind of information the Trump administration can use against the Democrats, which could end up being a time bomb for them.
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