Sharyl Attkisson’s Timeline of Obama’s Surveillance Activities

From:,  by Paul Mirengoff,  on Apr 20, 2017

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson has prepared an “Obama-era Surveillance Timeline. ”It is a mixed bag, containing seemingly indefensible conduct by the Obama administration, but also conduct that I consider justified and proper (e.g., the prosecution of CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling).

It’s clear to me from the timeline, though, that the kinds of intelligence abuses we’re hearing about now did not begin when Team Obama became concerned about Donald Trump. Attkisson says that in April 2009, just a few months into the Obama presidency, “someone leak[ed] the unmasked name of Congresswoman Jane Harman to the press” According to news reports, the Bush administration NSA had incidentally recorded and saved Harmon’s phone conversations with pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage. But it was during the Obama presidency that the information was leaked to the press.

Harman is a liberal Democrat. However, she was more hard-line than most Democrats on national security. Perhaps more significantly, she was a political enemy of Nancy Pelosi.

There was also the case of Fox News’ James Rosen. In May 2010, the government secretly applied for a warrant to obtain Google email information regarding Rosen. Three years later, Fox News learned that the Justice Department secretly labeled reporter Rosen a possible “criminal co-conspirator” and “flight-risk” in obtaining warrants to monitor his movements, phone records, and emails in a leak investigation starting in 2011.

Moreover, although Attkisson doesn’t mention it, when James Rosen visited his parents he used their telephone to talk to one of his contacts. This led to the lead investigation being extended to Rosen’s parents. Creepy.

Attkisson herself apparently was the victim of surveillance after she broke, and persistently reported on, the Holder Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” scandal. In February 2013, remote intruders secretly download new spy software proprietary to a federal agency onto her work computer.

In December of that year, she says, two intelligence-connected sources separately told her that she was likely under government surveillance due to her reporting. One source told her the government has pushed the envelope like never before and that public would be shocked to “learn the extent that the government is conducting surveillance of private citizens.”

Around that same time, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, both Democrats, who had classified knowledge as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, publicly warned of the “back-door search loophole” or incidental collection of innocent Americans. Said Udall:

[T]here is nothing to prohibit the intelligence community from searching through a pile of communications, which may have been incidentally or accidentally been collected without a warrant, to deliberately search for the phone calls or e-mails of specific Americans.

Moreover, as Attkisson points out here, incidental collection of a U.S. citizen target may be “orchestrated” for political reasons. She explains how this can be done without leaving “fingerprints.”

In the Spring of 2015, the Obama administration finished negotiations of the Iran nuclear deal. It was later reported that Obama intelligence officials had been “incidentally capturing” communications of U.S. members of Congress and organizations in the U.S. while secretly recording Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s discussions about the Iran deal.

Finally, let’s turn to surveillance relating to Donald Trump and/or his campaign. Here are key entries from Attkisson’s timeline:

July 2016: Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination for president. According to later news reports, after Trump’s nomination, internal White House logs show Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice begins to show increased interest in National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence material that included “unmasked” Americans’ identities.

Summer 2016: The FBI reportedly obtains a secret FISA court order to monitor communications of Trump adviser Carter Page, convincing a judge there’s probable cause to believe Page is acting as a Russian agent. Surveillance of Page theoretically allows government officials to “incidentally” collect communications of Trump associates (or Trump himself) if they communicate with Page.

Fall 2016: Trump opponents “shop” to reporters a political opposition research “dossier” alleging Trump is guilty of various inappropriate acts regarding Russia. The information is unverified (and some of it is false) and the press doesn’t publish it, but a copy is provided to the FBI.

November 2016-January 2017: News reports claim Rice’s interest in the NSA materials accelerates after President Trump’s election through his January inauguration. Surveillance reportedly included Trump transition figures and/or foreign officials discussing a Trump administration.

December 2016: FBI secretly monitors and records communications between Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who later became President Trump’s national security adviser.

Obama officials take steps to ensure certain intelligence gathered regarding Trump associates is “spread across the government.” One Obama official would later say it’s because they were afraid once Trump officials “found out how we knew what we knew,” the intelligence would be destroyed. However, Obama critics later theorize Obama officials were working to mount opposition to Trump’s presidency.

January 10, 2017: The media reports on the leaked anti-Trump “dossier” compiled by a political opposition research group containing unverified and at least partly untrue allegations of misconduct involving Trump and Russia.

January 12, 2017: The Obama administration finalizes new rules allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to spread certain intelligence to 16 other U.S. intel agencies without the normal privacy protections.

Feb. 9, 2017: News of the FBI recordings of Lt. Gen. Flynn speaking with Russia’s ambassador is leaked to the press. The New York Times and the Washington Post report that Flynn was captured on wiretaps discussing current U.S. sanctions, despite Flynn’s earlier denials.

The Washington Post also reports the FBI reviewed Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador and “found nothing illicit.”

Feb. 13, 2017: Trump National Security Adviser Flynn resigns, acknowledging he had misled Vice President Pence about his Russia conversations.

March 2, 2017: In an interview on MSNBC, Obama Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas says that once President Trump was elected, she urged her former colleagues to “get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can [about Trump and his associates] before President Obama leaves the administration” and get it to “people on Capitol Hill.”

March 10, 2017: Former Congressman Kucinich, a Democrat, steps forward to support Trump’s wiretapping claim, revealing that the Obama administration recorded his communications with a Libyan official in Spring 2011.

March 22, 2017: Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes publicly announces that he has reviewed evidence of U.S. citizens associated with Trump being “incidentally” surveilled by Obama intelligence officials, and that the names and information of the Trump associates were illegally leaked and/or used, mostly in November, December and January.

March 24, 2017: The political firm that compiled the Trump “dossier” that was leaked to the press, Fusion GPS, declines to answer questions or document requests from Sen. Charles Grassley.

March 31, 2017: Democrat Adam Schiff is invited to the White House to review intel material Republican Nunes saw earlier.

April 3, 2017: Multiple news reports state that prior to the election, Rice had requested and reviewed “unmasked” intelligence on Trump associates whose information was “incidentally” collected by intelligence agencies.

April 4, 2017: In an interview on MSNBC, Rice seems to reverse herself (having earlier said she knew “nothing” about unmasking of surveilled Trump associates) and admits having asked for names of U.S. citizens previously masked in intelligence reports. Rice says her motivations were not political or to spy. When asked if she leaked names of U.S. citizens, Rice replies, “I leaked nothing to nobody.”

I have heard it said that ever since Adam Schiff saw the spreadsheet of “incidental” collection of communications involving U.S. citizens, his tone regarding the Obama administration’s surveillance has changed. I don’t follow Schiff closely enough to know whether this is true. However, it’s easy to believe that the spreadsheet revealed a vast degree of collection and possible to believe that it has given Schiff pause.


There are two issues here: one, our own government is secretly gathering information on practically everyone in the country. Since contact with another person who may have been targeted for watching by any number of our investigative agencies now connects you with them, they believe that now you are also fair game for “incidental” collection. So now it’s ok for them to include anyone that you may call? How many levels of connection does it take to connect us all to evil doers – even if there is no direct connection? Can any of us be safe from this kind of “connection”?

And two, that Barack Obama and his entire crew of henchpersons had no compunctions about using secretly collected information for political purposes. I am convinced that sometime soon, a whistleblower will unload on Obama and expose just how sleazy a creep he was. He, who promised the most transparent administration ever, will prove to be the most secretive, most criminal, most unAmerican, lying weasel ever to occupy the White House.




Categories: Political


6 replies

  1. Thanks to their incestuous relationship with Hollywood and the media the Left has long enjoyed an undeserved reputation for having clean hands when nothing could be farther from the truth. These are people who get indignant at the prospect of spying on other countries for the sake of national security, and yet anything they can get away with to advance their OWN agendas is fair game even if it means targeting their fellow citizens. That’s the evil of “progressivism.”

    I hope this doesn’t get dropped withiout serious consequences for anyone, like every other scandal that involves Obama & Co. It’s time to make someone pay a real price.


    • Their whole world is one of feigned indignance and hypocrisy. I’ve been reading a book about a Muslim woman who moved to the U.S. and became a Christian and she relates the Islamic view of lying. It is exactly the same way that the left views lying – it’s ok when it furthers the cause or protects their side from harm. It makes life difficult for us in that we (normally) don’t expect people to lie – especially when swearing on a Bible. But for the liberal left, it’s part of their arsenal of tricks to win the political battle.

      Spying, through whatever means, is also just another tool. If they can gain advantage by intercepting negotiations, or strategy, or political plans – so be it – it gives them another advantage and they must win – at all costs. The end justifies the means.


  2. I have to agree with Tannngl, especially after Roberts made the decision he did and had us all wondering about the skeletons in his closet.

    I think this massive spying shows just how deeply paranoid O was, and probably still is. He had so many secrets to hide that it was imperative he get dirt on everyone he could. He had to have leverage.


    • That Roberts decision was a real doozy, I can’t remember any of the legal minds who understood why he literally rewrote the legislation in order to approve Obamacare – even us “civilians” could read the plain writing in the bill and see that it wasn’t what he said it was. I’ll bet that Obama still has access to the material that was collected through his loyal fellow crooks and can still “leak” it when it serves his agenda. Unfortunately, we’ve not seen the last of our half-black Criminal-in-Chief.


  3. I think O had information on a number of people in DC. John Roberts, possibly the crying Speaker, and many others whom he wanted to control. Has anyone disappeared during these past 8 years. He’s gotta be as devious and criminal as Bill and Hillary.


    • Agreed, tannngl, and he’s even worse in one respect, he’s still got the race card to hide behind. They’re all a bunch of criminals who, in an ideal world, would never gotten close to the presidency.


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