Opinion Column

BONOKOSKI

Adventures in Trumpland get 'curiouser and curiouser'

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By Mark Bonokoski, Postmedia Network

President Donald Trump waves as he walks towards the White House on March 5. (GETTY IMAGES)

President Donald Trump waves as he walks towards the White House on March 5. (GETTY IMAGES)

With the Trudeau Liberals finally set to discuss the asylum-seekers tramping illegally across our border, U.S. President Donald Trump eased back Monday on his controversial travel ban in hopes this one would dodge any court challenges.

He took Iraq off the list of the seven Muslim-dominated countries from his original travel ban that various American courts threw to the curb, purportedly to acknowledge Iraq’s fight against the Islamic terrorism of ISIS within its own borders, and gave his revised executive order 10 days’ grace before its implementation.

While it garnered its fair share of news, it wasn’t as intriguing or as explosive as Trump tweeting over the weekend that former president Barack Obama had ordered the wiretapping of his campaign headquarters at the Trump Tower.

“This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” Trump tweeted of Obama.

It appears, however, that there could be more than just a grain of truth to Trump’s allegation, not that Obama personally ordered the wiretap, but that he was possibly later advised of it.

There was also growing buzz over the weekend that, beyond the wiretap accusations, the Russian hacking allegations were invented by intelligence agencies to drive a wedge into any Trump plan to normalize relations with the Kremlin once he was elected president.

Whistleblower and former high-placed National Security Agency advisor William Binney said he believed, without doubt, that NSA operatives had tapped Trump’s phones, and had leaked details to both the Democrats and selected anti-Trump media.

“How else did they get the phone call between the president and the president of Australia?” asked Binney. “Or the one he made with Mexico? Those are not targeted foreigners.”

These do beg for answers.

Binney, who spent 36 years in the agency as a data surveillance expert and Russian specialist, also contended NSA was most likely behind the data leak that upended Mike Flynn, Trump’s choice for national security advisor, over conversations he had in Washington with Russia’s ambassador prior to the election.

As far back as early January, both Binney and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern were dismissing reports by the New York Times that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “deployed computer hackers” to help Trump win the election, citing that the long anticipated Joint Analysis Report issued by Homeland Security and the FBI fell “embarrassingly short” of connecting any dots.

To these two former senior intelligence officers, it smelled “leak,” and not even close to being a “hack.”

If the leak did not come directly from NSA, said Binney, it came from either the CIA or the FBI, both which have unfettered access to NSA’s database.

As Binney and McGovern jointly wrote in an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun in upending the New York Time’s argument, “Because NSA can trace exactly where and how any ‘hacked’ e-mails were routed through the network, it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government.”

They then claimed Democrats, lacking any evidence, had resurrected the defence of Donald Rumsfeld when weapons of mass destruction, and the reason for going to war, never turned up in Iraq when he was defence secretary for President George W. Bush.

“The absence of evidence,” said Rumsfeld, “is not evidence of absence.”

This “evidence of absence” is also perhaps why the Times, as well as the Washington Post, have been relying on anonymous sources to drive their Trump-Russia narrative.

White House press spokesman Sean Spicer has since confirmed that Trump has asked Congress to add the tapped-phone allegations to their investigation into whether the Obama administration abused its powers during the 2016 election.

Indeed, as Alice observantly understated in the midst of her own adventures in Wonderland, it gets “curiouser and curiouser.”

Dull moments in Trumpland are as equally rare.

markbonokoski@gmail.com