NYT: Obama’s counterintelligence officials monitored Trump’s advisers – report 2/9/2017

Obama’s agencies were monitoring Flynn’s conversations
The left-wing newspaper, The New York Times, reported on 9 February 2017[1]: (emphasis added)

Flynn Is Said to Have Talked to Russians About Sanctions Before Trump Took Office
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and MATT APUZZO FEB. 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — Weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, discussed American sanctions against Russia, as well as areas of possible cooperation, with that country’s ambassador to the United States, according to current and former American officials.

Throughout the discussions, the message Mr. Flynn conveyed to the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak — that the Obama administration was Moscow’s adversary and that relations with Russia would change under Mr. Trump — was unambiguous and highly inappropriate, the officials said. (…)

But current and former American officials said that conversation — which took place the day before the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over accusations that it used cyberattacks to help sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — ranged far beyond the logistics of a post-inauguration phone call. And they said it was only one in a series of contacts between the two men that began before the election and also included talk of cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State, along with other issues.

The officials said that Mr. Flynn had never made explicit promises of sanctions relief, but that he had appeared to leave the impression it would be possible. (…)

During the Christmas week conversation, he urged Mr. Kislyak to keep the Russian government from retaliating over the coming sanctions — it was an open secret in Washington that they were in the works — by telling him that whatever the Obama administration did could be undone, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified material. (…)

Federal officials who have read the transcript of the call were surprised by Mr. Flynn’s comments, since he would have known that American eavesdroppers closely monitor such calls. They were even more surprised that Mr. Trump’s team publicly denied that the topics of conversation included sanctions.

The call is the latest example of how Mr. Trump’s advisers have come under scrutiny from American counterintelligence officials. The F.B.I. is also investigating Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

Prosecutions in these types of cases are rare, and the law is murky, particularly around people involved in presidential transitions. The officials who had read the transcripts acknowledged that while the conversation warranted investigation, it was unlikely, by itself, to lead to charges against a sitting national security adviser.

Source:
– NYT: “Flynn Is Said to Have Talked to Russians About Sanctions Before Trump Took Office” (9 Feb. 2017)
*https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/us/flynn-is-said-to-have-talked-to-russians-about-sanctions-before-trump-took-office.html

Related:
Obama’s FBI got FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s campaign – report 11/7/2016
The Guardian: Obama’s FBI got warrant to spy on Trump team – report 1/11/2017
NYT: Obama extended spying powers to National Security Agency (NSA) – report 1/12/2017
McClatchy: Trump’s campaign investigated by Obama’s FBI and 5 other agencies – report 1/18/2017
NYT: Obama got info from wiretapped communications – report 1/19/2017

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