Obama’s National Security Council allegedly leaked information about former Navy SEAL and Blackwater CEO Erik Prince to the liberal press after they put him under “illegal” surveillance during a foreign trip, according to testimony Prince gave the House Intelligence Committee back in November.
The transcript, released Wednesday, indicates Prince believed that surveillance to be “illegal.” In response to a question from Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Prince discussed his belief American intelligence agencies surveilled him while he spoke in a hotel bar in the Seychelles with Russian businessman Kirill Dmitriev in January of 2017.
The investigation, supposedly about Trump-Russia ties, later was used by the Washington Post in a piece about Trump ally Prince’s connections to Russia. The Post alleged he was trying to set up a “back channel” between Trump and Putin.
Prince told Rooney:
What really bothers me and what I would hope the intelligence committee is doing is question why Americans that were caught up in the waves of signals intelligence, why on Earth would the Washington Post be running an article on any meeting that a private citizen, me, was having in a foreign country?
“That’s illegal. That is a political abuse of the intelligence infrastructure,” Prince said. “And that is really dangerous, especially as this committee and the Congress thinks about reauthorizing very wide-ranging intelligence authorities to dig into private Americans’ electronic communications of any sort.”
Dmitriev and his investment fund are the same hook CNN tried to use back in June to tie short-lived White House Communications director Anthony Saramucci to Russian-collusion investigations. CNN later was forced to retract the story.
Prince’s business in the Seychelles was, according to his testimony, entirely unrelated to Dmitriev. He was there to meet business partners from the United Arab Emirates when they suggested he speak informally.
Prince questioned why the Obama administration would use “Russia collusion” as the basis for monitoring his communications when the meeting took place months after the election. “This meeting didn’t happen until … more than two months after the election. So if there was all this collusion, why would there even need to be any other followup meetings?” Prince told the committee.
He was even more incensed that that same intelligence leadership then, according to him, leaked the information gleaned from their investigation to the liberal press. “[T]he only way the Washington Post ran an article some months later was because it was provided by someone in the government to them,” Prince said. “And there’s no valid reason that the Washington Post should be getting those.”
“That is a leak of intelligence information, obviously signals intelligence, of private citizens, Americans, moving around or doing business abroad,” Prince fumed, adding, “I’ve seen a number of reports it was members of the Obama National Security Council.”