Controversy Continues Over Intelligence Leaks

By Andrew Kim ’19

Shortly after a controversial presidential campaign led by our current president, a fusillade of accusations suggesting dubious ties between the Trump Administration and Russian officials was launched, and it continues to stir up political controversies that many media outlets have capitalized on. The main controversy stemmed before the Election Day past November, when the DNC platform faced multiple attempts of hacking by suspected Russian hackers. The hacking released sensitive information about debate questions being delivered to the then-DNC Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and raised media suspicions over Donald Trump’s possible cooperation with the Russian government in order to undermine Clinton’s winning chances.

The DNC hacking event, though precariously dangerous in itself, served to shine a light on what is possibly a greater issue facing national security – intelligence leaks. And when President Trump’s pick for the National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn resigned after his private phone call with a Russian official was wiretapped and leaked to the public even before his nomination was made, the allegations about possible Russian ties worsened. President Trump denied all the accusations and fired a controversial tweet suggesting that the previous administration led by the former President Obama has ordered such wiretaps to undermine his administration. Controversial accusations both from the Democrats and the Trump Administration continues to fuel up many media outlets, each of which seem to mislead the public from the proven facts about the controversy.

Amidst misleading headlines and accusations from the both sides of the political spectrum, there only seems to be two proven facts about the controversy surrounding dubious intelligence leaks. First, the phone conversation that led to Flynn’s resignation was wiretapped, and a fragment of that conversation was sent to the Washington Post, which broke the news to the rest of the public – stirring up many conspiracy theories and accusations. Who or what organization tapped Flynn’s phone call and delivered it to the Washington Post is not known.

The other proven fact is that in the days before former President Obama left the office, he allowed his Attorney General Loretta Lynch to pass a directive order on January 3rd to deregulate the National Security Agency, allowing it to share gathered national intelligence, even the unconfirmed ones to be distributed among all other federal intelligence agencies. Then, the secondary recipients of the raw intelligence data can also be distributed to their partners in foreign countries and over the 50 states. Lynch commented that she passed this order for “administrative convenience.” The formal procedure before this order used to be that the NSA is not legally allowed to distribute raw intelligence data before it is confirmed for accuracy.

The result of the dubious wiretaps and the new directive deregulating the NSA regarding its intelligence policies is that it resulted in the continuing whirlwind of intelligence leaks, and further accusations towards the Trump administration with its possible ties to Russia. Though it is difficult for the public to sense where the truth lies, its important going forward to adhere to the facts over media headlines. And the fact is that someone or some organization is subversively engaging in wiretaps to uncover secured intelligence, and the new directive undertaken by the Obama administration has somewhat created a hole in which intelligence data can be easily leaked.



Filed in: Politics

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