President Donald Trump alleges that President Obama ordered wiretaps on his Trump Tower phone lines. This accusation is a distraction; Obama didn’t need to order taps.
People caught chatting with Russians were discovered because all digital data generated or received in the U.S. is available to government agents through the Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. There, all private emails, phone calls, searches, chats, tweets, personal data trails (itineraries, purchases, etc.) flow through servers and are stored in near-bottomless databases.
Data emanating from suspicious foreign sources may lawfully be intercepted and analyzed. Say, Russian agents were trying to interfere with our elections or cut unlawful deals with American citizens, the government might have an interest in who was on the other end of that conversation and what was said or done.
No need for a “wiretap”; the data already is collected. As Edward Snowden noted and Trump is no doubt learning, judicial or administrative oversight over who gets to scrutinize citizens’ communications stored in the Utah Data Center is uncertain.
Never miss a local story.
Trump should quit kicking the hornets’ nest and listen to what Snowden knows and recognize him as a national hero, instead of wanting to execute him.
Gary E. Richardson, Boise