The New York Times is referring to the story of the Obama administration conducting, then leaking, surveillance of Donald Trump’s campaign as a “conspiracy theory,” even though the story is largely based on the Times’ own recent reporting.
The Times‘ effort to deny “DeepStateGate” seems to rest entirely on the argument that the Obama administration did not tap Trump’s “phones.” President Trump used that term in a tweet about the scandal, and the Times is now using that to deny the story as a whole.
But the basic elements of the story remain the same, regardless of whether the surveillance targeted Trump’s “phones,” a computer server at Trump Tower (the subject of speculation even during the campaign), or other communications. Whatever method used, under whatever justification (FISA court or otherwise), the fact remains — as reported repeatedly by the Times — that the last administration conducted surveillance on the Trump campaign, whose results were disseminated and leaked.
If that is a “conspiracy theory,” then the Times must retract its own reporting that the Obama administration gave the National Security Agency new powers to share intelligence information before removing privacy protections (Jan. 12); that “American law enforcement and intelligence agencies” intercepted “communications and financial transactions” of Trump “associates” (Jan. 19); that the same agencies intercepted “repeated contacts” between the Trump campaign and Russian officials (without finding any evidence of collusion in the election) (Feb. 14); and that the outgoing Obama administration “rushed” to disseminate the evidence it had gathered on Trump’s Russia ties throughout other government agencies, ostensibly to “preserve” it from destruction (Mar. 1).
All of that is a scandal on its own, even if it transpires that Trump’s “phones” were not tapped.
The Times reported on Sunday night that FBI director James Comey is asking the Department of Justice to deny publicly “that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones,” as if that amounts to a refutation of the entire scandal. But again, the report hinges on the word “phones,” and has nothing to do with the mountain of evidence that the Times itself has presented.
In that report, and in an accompanying report dismissing Breitbart News’ reporting on the story as a “conspiracy theory,” the Times pointedly refused to link to Breitbart, refusing to allow its readers an opportunity to make up their own minds.
The fact is that there is more evidence in the Times‘ own pages to substantiate the “conspiracy theory” of the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign than there ever was to back up the idea that Russia colluded with Trump in the election.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.