Muftic: Bewildered over wiretaps and Russian ruses (column)
March 9, 2017
Once again President Donald Trump's tweet gets America in a twitter. In so many words, he accused President Obama of a crime, of wire-tapping him. There was some blowback he surely had not anticipated. Even his spokespeople were unable to explain the whys and hows of how he got such information. Members of Congress interviewed on Sunday talk shows could not back him up. Trump tweeted : "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"
Immediately those who were in control and knowledgeable of the nation's intelligence and surveillance at the time of the last campaign and in prior administrations, James Clapper and Michael Hayden, were quick to make the point that a president did not have the power to order wire taps and attested that they knew of no warrants approved for such wire taps. They educated TV viewers about the process to approve wire taps via special judges panels. The FBI director, James Comey, urged the Justice Department to say it isn't true.
Speculation by those interviewed throughout last weekend centered on missing proof or how he got that information. Was it from Breitbart News reporting a right-wing, conspiracy theory, or some internal intelligence report, or information from other countries' intelligence services? Some speculated he did it to divert attention from more evidence of meetings of those close to him with Russians and speculation that members of his campaign staff had been in cahoots with Russian officials during the campaign to influence the outcome.
What can we do about an administration led by a President who appears to be unhinged and with a staff that is itself in disarray? What if the world ceases believing what he says and/or miscalculates war and peace policies? The public has had little ability to separate fact from fiction since so much of the investigation into the Russian connection is taking place behind closed doors. One person I admire and respect very much said she does not believe anyone on any side involved in the Russian affair. Others said to me on the weekend, they were afraid that the President was not equipped to handle challenges to our national security. They called this a dangerous time.
Here is what I suggest those do who feel frightened or bewildered: First, demand and look for credible proof. Follow what is expressed publicly, especially by those made under oath. Do not rely on one or a couple of media outlets for news and consider many others, even those that make you uncomfortable. Become knowledgeable about the checks and balances within our government that make accusations or abuse of power unlikely. Demand that more hearings be held in public and that investigations are truly independent. Do not become so fixated by sensational breaking news that you forget what other issues being decided upon that affect your daily life. Some I am following are GOP plans that would to affect the access and benefits of health insurance for everyone, executive orders and administration subversion of consumer and environmental protections which would hurt our pocket books and health, and civil liberties. For more, visit http://www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com