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Hamilton: Unnamed sources versus unnamed leakers (column)

Bill Hamilton.

Ever since March 4, when President Trump tweeted that his wires had been tapped by President Obama, the myth-stream media (MSM), rather than investigate any underlying substance to President Trump's claim, have alleged that President Trump is too uninformed to know the difference between old-fashioned wiretapping and modern electronic surveillance.

Perhaps, President Trump's choice of wiretapped versus electronic surveillance was not a careless choice of words; but rather, wiretapped was chosen by President Trump in order not to run afoul of statutes that forbid the disclosure of certain highly classified sources and methods.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Admiral Michael S. Rogers, whom President Trump has retained as head of the National Security Agency (NSA), paid a visit to the Trump Tower on November 17, 2016, and told President Trump that Trump's campaign staff and Trump's transition team were being subjected to electronic surveillance by the Obama Administration. Add to that, President Obama's order, just three days before President Obama went out of office, that raw information netted by the NSA could be widely shared with the intelligence community's other 16 agencies. Was that a ploy to encourage leaking and, thereby, discredit Trump and his associates?

While the sweeping up of huge amounts of electronic metadata by the NSA is not against the law, the electronic surveillance of American citizens without a court warrant is illegal. Recall, during the Obama Administration that Lt. General Michael Flynn headed the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Ergo: If the DIA participated in the illegal surveillance of Team Trump as revealed by Admiral Rogers, then General Flynn might have a good reason to request congressional immunity prior to offering any testimony that might clear up this mess. Although General Flynn could claim he was acting under the orders of President Obama, his Commander-in-Chief, that might not avail him any protection in any subsequent legal proceedings.

Admiral Roger's Nov. 17 bombshell must have posed a dilemma for the brand-new, but cagey, President-Elect Trump: How to let the public know what was done by the Obama Administration without compromising the "sources and methods" involved? Ergo: President Trump waited until he was in office with even more facts in hand and tweeted: "Terrible. Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism."

Even though the Senate and House Intelligence Committees have yet to get to the bottom of this confusion between unnamed sources and unnamed leakers, it looks like President Trump's tweet that he was "wiretapped" by former President Obama has a lot more substance than what the MSM are willing to admit.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if President Trump has laid another one of his rope-a-dope traps for the MSM. If so, then President Trump, like Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith in the 1983-1987 "A-Team" TV Series, must be saying to himself: "I love it when a plan comes together."

Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.