When does wire tapping not mean wire tapping?

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Sean Spicer, President Trump’s Press Secretary, struggled to explain the unexplainable today. Given a deadline to present evidence that the Obama Administration wiretapped Trump Towers during the election, the Trump administration appears to be walking away from the President’s initial claim. In addition, no credible government source supports the wiretapping allegations.

According to Spicer, the term “wiretap” was meant as a general reference to a variety of surveillance methods, but wasn’t intended to specifically refer to the wiretapping of phones in the offices of Trump Towers. Even though it most definitely sounded that way in President Trump’s Tweets and statements. It’s curious that it took so long for the Trump administration to correct this apparent misunderstanding.

In an unusual interview moment, Kelly Anne Conway referred to “microwaves that turn into cameras”, suggesting that the government could use any number of high tech methods to surveil its citizens (and by implication, President Trump.) The statement, clearly intended as a distraction from the absurdity of the President’s claim, may delight legions of gadget crazy middle school boys, but frustrated reporters and journalists. Veteran journalist and commentator David Gergen  was so frustrated by her statements that he dismissed Conway as “not serious” and called for journalists to stop covering her.

So, if President Obama didn’t wiretap, or by extension, surveil in any sense of the word, Trump Towers during the Presidential campaign, then why is President Trump pushing these outrageous ideas? Theories abound, but nobody knows for sure. Perhaps President Trump fears he will soon be exposed in someway, and seeks to distract, or better yet, inoculate his base against such news stories by suggesting he’s the victim of ongoing attacks and accusations from his political rivals? Maybe he had a more significant role in the Russian hacking scandal, for example. Or perhaps he simply enjoys playing with groundless conspiracy theories in the small hours of the morning, before an audience of millions?

In any event, President Trump appears to be true to form, presenting misinformation as fact to the American People, and by doing so, dishonoring the office of the President of the United States. President Trump must stop this ridiculous charade, before he does permanent damage to the nation in the court of popular opinion, both at home and abroad.

Learn more about when wiretapping isn’t wiretapping (CNN)

 

Photo: By VOA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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