This week, former National Security Agency official Bill Binney told Fox Business that Donald Trump is “absolutely right” to claim that he was wiretapped and monitored. Binney’s comments followed a recent Trump twitter tantrum, in which the leader of the free world accused then-President Obama of tapping his phones “during the very sacred election process.”
Binney spent more than 36 years as a highly placed intelligence official at the NSA. When the U.S. approach to intelligence changed in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, he resigned in protest. As reported by PBS back in 2013, Binney “became a whistleblower after discovering that elements of a data-monitoring program he had helped develop — nicknamed ThinThread — were being used to spy on Americans.”
Binney’s point appears to be that, because the intelligence community is engaged in widespread domestic surveillance, it’s only logical to assume that candidate Trump’s communications likewise fell within the dragnet. As evidence, he points to the leaked details of conversations between Trump and the leaders of Australia and Mexico—conversations Binney said could have been picked up by the NSA’s Fairview program.
Notably absent from Binney’s comments on Trump’s pronouncement was an assessment of whether President Obama directed surveillance of Trump for political purposes—the heart of Trump’s spurious accusation.
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