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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who once defended former President Barack Hussein Obama’s widely panned surveillance operations, is now calling for another investigation into former President Donald Trump over his administration doing something similar.
After The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump’s Department of Justice had subpoenaed records about several Democrats during its investigation into the incessant leaking of classified information, Pelosi said she supports an investigation.
“Recently, it has become public that the Trump Administration sought account metadata of House Intelligence Committee Members and staff and their families. The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing. These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president,” she said in a statement to the press.
“I support Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s call for an investigation into this situation and other acts of the weaponization of law enforcement by the former president. Transparency is essential,” she added.
The statement was published about an hour after Schiff, a veritable grand inquisitor whose career in Congress has been dominated by him constantly proposing investigations against his political foes, first broached the idea in a tweet:
Pelosi re: Trump Admin sought account metadata of House Intelligence Committee Members + staff + their families:
“The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration DOJ is harrowing…I support Intelligence Com Chair Adam Schiff’s call for an investigation” pic.twitter.com/1LMqukgVnD
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) June 11, 2021
Trump repeatedly demanded the DOJ go after his political enemies.
It’s clear his demands didn’t fall on deaf ears.
This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice.
And how much he imperiled our democracy.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 11, 2021
Note how Schiff claimed in the tweet above that the former president had “repeatedly demanded the DOJ go after his political enemies,” suggesting that the DOJ’s subpoenaing of Democrats was motivated by an order from him.
Yet nowhere in the Times’ piece was any such claim made. Instead, the article simply documented how, because of concern over all the classified information being illegally leaked to the press, the DOJ under Attorney General Jeff Sessions had taken the unusual “step of subpoenaing communications metadata from members of Congress.”
“All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman,” according to the Times.
“Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia,” the Times added.
At one point, Sessions’ DOJ reportedly sought to subpoena Apple and other internet providers. Apple complied, turning over “metadata and account information” but not “not photos, emails or other content.”
While the Trump administration’s violation of privacy, even if for a noble intent, is disturbing, it mirrors — though doesn’t quite reach the level of — the privacy violations that occurred under former President Obama.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 7, 2017
Thanks to leaks from former National Security Agency employee turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, who remains wanted even under current President Joe Biden, it was learned in 2013 that the Obama administration had conducted widespread surveillance on not only all Americans but even on America’s foreign allies.
The discoveries provoked widespread anger and revulsion, though not from Pelosi who, at the time, chose to side with the administration.
“I think on three scores — that is leaking the Patriot Act section 215, FISA 702, and the president’s classified cyber operations’s directive — on the strength of leaking that, yes, that would be a prosecutable offense…I think that he should be prosecuted,” she said of Snowden during a June 13th, 2013, press conference.
She later helped ensure that Obama’s vast surveillance operations were allowed to remain intact by spearheading the blocking of a GOP-drafted bill to weaken the NSA’s power.
“The obituary of Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment to claw back the sweeping powers of the National Security Agency has largely been written as a victory for the White House and NSA chief Keith Alexander … [b]ut Hill sources say most of the credit for the amendment’s defeat goes to someone else: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,” Foreign Policy magazine reported on July 25th, 2013.
“[A]head of the razor-thin 205-217 vote, which would have severely limited the NSA’s ability to collect data on Americans’ telephone records if passed, Pelosi privately and aggressively lobbied wayward Democrats to torpedo the amendment,” the magazine added.
To this day, Snowden is still perceived as a “traitor” by many on the mainstream left:
Because many prominent Democrats were complicit in, if not the architects of, the corrupt, secret and illegal conversion of the internet into a weapon of mass surveillance, and therefore are still furious with @Snowden for exposing them, Public Service Pulitzers notwithstanding: https://t.co/0EsKpoiqyj
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 16, 2020
According to the likes of Pelosi and Schiff, it seems that surveilling everyday Americans is perfectly OK. But surveilling the lawmakers? That’s a big no-no …
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