2013 FLASHBACK: Two Dems Warn NSA Violations Just ‘Tip of a Larger Iceberg.’
A pair of civil-liberties Democrats whom the White House tried to appease in a closed-door meeting warned today that fresh reports of thousands of privacy violations by the National Security Agency are just the “tip of a larger iceberg.”
On Thursday, the Washington Post published its report of a May 2012 audit leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden that found 2,776 violations over the previous year of executive orders and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provisions governing spying on Americans or foreign targets in the U.S. These included both computer and operator errors.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have been some of President Obama’s harshest critics — within his party and outside — on domestic spying. They were among allies and foes of the NSA programs summoned by Obama to the Oval Office at the beginning of the month as he hoped to calm his detractors before promising new, vague reforms.
It’s now apparent that the spying on political enemies continued unabated, and in fact accelerated in the last days of the Obama Administration.
We don’t know what Yates knew about Ohr’s role. When Yates testified before Congress in May 2017 about the Russia investigation, Ohr’s involvement was still secret, leading the Senate Judiciary Committee to focus instead on her role in instigating the firing of Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.
Once again, Ohr and Steele’s exchanges detailed by Solomon provide a hint: The day after Yate’s firing, Steele contacted Ohr, texting “doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re-SY,” a clear reference to Sally Yates. “Just wanted to check you are OK, still in situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues,” Steele added. Then, after Ohr confirmed “I’m still here and able to help as discussed,” Steele stressed that if Ohr was out at DOJ, he needed another “(Bureau?)” contact.
This exchange suggests Yates’ removal concerned Steele and left him worried that without Yates at the helm, Ohr’s continued role as a DOJ liaison for Steele was at risk, and that without Yates or Ohr, he would need to work directly with the FBI.
Was that because Yates approved of Ohr acting as a dossier courier for Steele and the FBI? If so, the Spygate scandal reaches into even higher echelons of the Deep State than previously known.
You’ll want to read the whole thing about our previous, remarkably scandal-free Administration.