Hey, remember that time when President Good Words accused Barack Obama of doing an evil TAPP to his WIRES during the VERY SACRED ELECTION PROCESS?
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
By which he means, “We’re thinking about tapping some wires up in the White House!” Because if we’ve learned anything in the past 15 months, it’s that accusation is always confession in Trumpland.
Tell us, Daily Beast!
Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom former national security adviser Michael Flynn brought onto the NSC as senior director for intelligence, sought technical solutions in early 2017 for collecting and analyzing phone and other data on White House colleagues for interactions with reporters. He portrayed his desired leak hunt as an “insider threat” detection effort, according to the ex-officials.
See, the White House didn’t like all those leaks coming out before John Kelly came in and put a stop to that entirely. (WE KID!) So they set Michael Flynn’s little attack schnauzer to root out the leakers by checking their private phone data. As one does … when one is a fascist with no regard for the First and Fourth Amendments. Or understanding of the difference between embarrassing information — like a joke about a sitting senator dying of brain cancer — and classified data.
The Daily Beast was unable to determine if this harebrained scheme ever got past the planning stage — although they do note Cohen-Watnick’s crack strategy to combat leaks by yelling about what he would do to those wily leakers if he ever got his hands on them.
The officials said Cohen-Watnick used to hold what one ex-official described as “loud secret meetings,” in earshot of passers-by, about finding leakers.
Oh, yeah, dude. You’re like if Sun-Tzu and Machiavelli had a baby who was too lazy to go to law school like every other assistant DNI.
Cohen-Watnick is represented by Mark Zaid, who did go to law school and for whom we have a lot of respect. Although we’re side-eying this argument HARD.
Ezra worked along with numerous others within the NSC and IC [intelligence community] to facilitate implementation of the Obama Executive Order on insider threats that was issued in the wake of Edward Snowden’s illegal theft and disclosures.
Cohen-Watnick was just trying to root out the next Snowden by monitoring the phones of his own staff? PFFFFT.
Superfans will note the irony of Cohen-Watnick playing leak hunter, when he himself is accused of leaking to everyone’s favorite traitor-hack Devin Nunes that night when the Congressman ninja-ed out of his Uber to give that press conference on the White House lawn. Cohen-Watnick denies being Nunes’s source, although the DB notes his own colleague refers to him as “the one most likely to end up like Ollie North.”
And oh, lookee here! Seems Donald Trump personally ordered the Justice Department to appoint Cohen-Watnick as a senior advisor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Did we mention that Cohen-Watnick is not a lawyer? But he sure does love him some Donald Trump! Bet Jeff Sessions will be delighted to have that little weenie follow him around all day.
Pro tip: THE MICROPHONE IS BEHIND THAT STUPID POCKET SQUARE!
Follow your FDF on Twitter!