OpenCDA

March 8, 2017

‘Wiretaps’ – Part 2

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 5:04 pm

In Obama We Trust PatchDid someone in the Obama administration either with or contrary to statutory authority order some form of technical interception to acquire information being passed through or stored on telecommunications systems or equipment in the Trump Tower in New York during the time that now-President Trump was Candidate Trump or Nominee Trump?

That was a mouthful.  That may be why President Trump use some variation of the simpler but much broader term ‘wiretap’ in his March 4 Twitter messages.   Unfortunately, ‘wiretap’ means different things to different people.

‘Wiretap’ was romanticized in the radio dramas and movies of the 30’s and since.   It meant using a simple device such as a telephone lineman’s handset (buttset) or an audio amplifier and headphones attached to a telephone line to listen and maybe record the people talking to each other on the line.  Their conversations were analog, not digitized, and there was almost always only one conversation at a time on each line.

As telecommunications technology evolved to include more than analog communications and to pass data in addition to voice audio, the term ‘wiretap’ became less and less accurate, less precise, to describe an array of wire and non-wire audio and non-audio interceptions, usually nonconsensual.    We’d go so far as to say that in 2017, it has become too imprecise to have much meaning at all in either law or technical surveillance.

OpenCdA wishes that President Trump’s staff (especially Press Secretary Sean Spicer), the Capitol Hill Clowns , and the remarkably inept skews media had directly asked President Trump what he meant when he accused former President Obama of directing a  ‘wiretap’ on his phone lines at the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Apparently, they didn’t ask or he chose not to explain what he meant.

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