After all the noise coming from the left about various Trump scandals we finally have one that dwarfs Watergate and it is coming from the Obama administration. If the wiretapping scandal is true then it represents massive abuse of power on behalf of the democrats. The best part about this is that there are records for the FISA requests. It is just classified. All it would take is for the president or the congress to request and review it. We can see whether Obama and his cohorts are lying and there were FISA requests or whether BBC, NYT, and other noteworthy news outlets were lying and there were no FISA requests. Assuming it is true we can examine its implications.
No FISA Safeguards
There is supposed to be some protections placed into the law to prevent abuse by the government. According to the law an impartial judge is supposed to look at the evidence presented by the administration and make a ruling as to the existence of probable cause in that investigation. In practice there has only been one FISA application rejected from 2009 to 2015 out of more than 10000 cases. As you can see the standard is so low that almost every request is granted. There used to be some oversight though as there is that one case out of 10000 that was rejected. Theoretically the administration can then appeal that decision.
The Obama administration showed that you do not have to go thru this process. If the original judge takes the rare stand of rejecting your request and appeal all the administration has to do is to change the request slightly and file it as a new request so that they can draw a friendlier judge.
When you gather information from surveillance it is very hard to just gather one specific thing. You will most likely gather a lot of data and then have to sift thru it to get the things that you are looking for while discarding the rest. In Obama Trump Towergate for instance Obama and his administration attempted to either tap the phones of Trump Tower and the Trump campaign and/or access the servers in Trump Tower. This would have gotten them either all the contents of the server which they would sift thru for relevant financial transactions or all the conversations of the Trump campaign made inside Trump Tower.
The intelligence community responsible for these investigations have proven that they have no problem leaking things. The extra information gathered like campaign strategies, internal polling, and other things that would be useless to the investigation itself would be very useful to the political opponents of the administration or intelligence community. The polling methods of Conways firm for example were more accurate than the others this cycle and were used for the internal polls of the Trump campaign and would be very useful to his opponents. Internal conversations and strategies would also be very useful. The Obama administration or any future administrations could have started an investigation on an unrelated matter to get access to the data and then leaked it to Clinton campaign.
Foreign Agents and Vault 7
The Obama administration used the “agents of foreign powers” track to order the surveillance of the Trump team. They argued that there was evidence that the Russians were hacking the DNC to benefit the Trump campaign as he was their puppet. With the Vault 7 revelations we now know that the intelligence agencies can perpetrate any attack and then mask it as one done by the Russians, Chinese, or anyone else they want to blame.
This means that the administration can work with the intelligence agencies to have the opposing party declared as “agents of foreign powers” every election. All the intelligence agencies would have to do is mask one of their attacks and the administration can then declare the opposition party an “agent of a foreign power” and place them under surveillance.
Using the example set by Obama future administrations can place their political opponents under surveillance for very flimsy reasons and have the information gathered leaked to assist the administrations political party.