In order to back President Donald Trump’s false allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, fringe outlets and fake news purveyors -- along with some right-wing media -- are hyping a claim from Infowars’ Jerome Corsi and Alex Jones that supposedly reveals National Security Agency (NSA) documents that show Trump was spied on for years. Corsi and the “sources” he and Jones rely on have been major proponents of the debunked myth that Obama’s birth certificate is fake.
Infowars Claims Supposed New NSA Documents Show Agency Spied On Trump
Alex Jones: “BREAKING! Documents Show Obama Surveilled Entire Trump Family For 8 Years.” Infowars host Alex Jones claimed that Infowars had gotten a “law enforcement NSA database” that shows Trump “being surveilled by Obama, previous to even running for the presidency” and the surveillance also included “spying on the Trump kids, Trump wife, particular interest in the Trumps’ daughter.” Jones, who worried about being “SWAT team readied any minute” for his claim, also said that sources included “outgoing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.” From the March 19 edition of Genesis Communications Network’s The Alex Jones Show:
ALEX JONES (HOST): Now I knew about this database last week. I’d reported on the existence of it years ago. But we have obviously law enforcement sources that are very respected that were giving the data and information to outgoing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, good friends with President Trump and also fearless, and his chief cold case investigator, Mike Zullo.
Now part of this is an admitted database and a program that was reported on by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, very respected, the London Guardian and others.
We have the actual law enforcement NSA database.
They’re able to get into the database of who’s already been spied on without a warrant in these, quote, “dragnet operations.”
We’ve not just received the data of the dragnet; our law enforcement services, who are patriots in many cases, have given our sources, who are impeccable, the database excerpts, and we have them. And by the way, we can be SWAT team readied any minute for this, but again we have President Trump, he who wants law and order, so there’s still criminal elements to the government. We don’t know what’s going to happen. This is all done in the interest of the republic and the truth.
We have President Trump being surveilled by Obama, previous to even running for the presidency, and then it cuts off and the rest has not been put in the database since then for these law enforcement groups.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got Barack Obama spying on the Trump kids, the Trump wife, particular interest in the Trumps’ daughter. Oh, and guess who else is in the database? A guy named Alex Jones. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 3/19/17]
Infowars’ Jerome Corsi: “NSA Documents Prove Surveillance Of Donald Trump & His Family.” Infowars’ Jerome Corsi, in a piece headlined “NSA DOCUMENTS PROVE SURVEILLANCE OF DONALD TRUMP & HIS FAMILY,” wrote that the website had “obtained credible information from law enforcement sources regarding individual records of U.S. citizens under National Security Agency electronic surveillance” showing “both Donald J. Trump and Alex Jones were under illegal, unauthorized government monitoring” between 2004 and 2010. Corsi also wrote that Michael Zullo, an investigator for Arpaio, “provided sections of the database to Infowars.com.” Infowars dates the article “March 20, 2017,” but other articles that cite and quote from it were published March 19. From the article:
Infowars.com have obtained credible information from law enforcement sources regarding individual records of U.S. citizens under National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance in the years 2004 through 2010 – a database that suggests both Donald J. Trump and Alex Jones were under illegal, unauthorized government monitoring during those years.
Michael Zullo, formerly the commander and chief investigator of the Cold Case Posse (CCP), a special investigative group created in 2006 in the office of Joseph M. Arpaio, formerly the sheriff in Maricopa County, an Arizona State Certified Law Enforcement Agency, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, provided sections of the database to Infowars.com.
The electronic surveillance database, provided to Zullo by a whistleblower in 2013, was apparently created by the NSA as part of the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional Project Dragnet electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens, first revealed by news reports published in 2005, as further documented by the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.
Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Investigator Zullo have identified dozens of entries at various addresses, including both Trump Tower in New York City and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, under which Donald Trump was apparently under NSA electronic surveillance from 2004, during President George W. Bush’s term of office, through 2009, the first year of President Obama’s presidency.
Also listed as under NSA surveillance in the period 2004-2010 was Trump’s former wife, Ivanka Trump at House of Ivanka, 10 East 64th Street, New York City. [Infowars, 3/20/17]
Fringe Outlets, Fake News Purveyors, And Some Right-Wing Media Run With Infowars Claim
The Gateway Pundit: “NSA Documents Prove Government Spying On Trump And Trump Tower for Years.” The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft wrote in a March 19 article that Infowars had “credible NSA documents that prove businessman Donald Trump and Trump Tower were under surveillance for years.” Hoft also wrote that Trump “accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones during the sacred election process,” and that “apparently the surveillance has been going on for years.” [The Gateway Pundit, 3/19/17]
WND: “NSA Documents: Trump Under Surveillance For Years.” WorldNetDaily republished parts of Corsi’s article with the headline “NSA documents: Trump under surveillance for years.” [WND, 3/19/17]
TruthFeed: “BREAKING: NSA Documents Prove Surveillance On Donald Trump.” Fake news purveyor TruthFeed wrote that “a new report from Infowars” shows “electronic surveillance was conducted in the years 2004 through 2010 on both Donald Trump and Alex Jones,” and that “this monitoring was illegal and unauthorized during those years.” [TruthFeed, 3/20/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Freedom Daily: “BREAKING: Trump’s Entire Family In Urgent Danger After NSA Just Leaked What They Did In Private For Years.” Fake news purveyor Freedom Daily claimed that “an NSA whistle blower” provided “the absolute smoking gun proving Obama’s guilt” for “the unconstitutional spy operation Obama led on Trump throughout the election.” The website added, “It will be interesting to see how the left responds now that there is concrete proof that this unconstitutional spying on Trump has been going on for years.” From the March 20 article:
Over the past several weeks, more evidence has continued to emerge about ‘Obamagate’ and the unconstitutional spy operation Obama led on Trump throughout the election. As the liberal media continues to simply deny that it even occurred, bombshell information has just been leaked by an NSA whistle blower that is the absolute smoking gun proving Obama’s guilt. And now that the cat is out of the bag it will be impossible for the liberal media to simply dismiss as a “conspiracy theory.”
Over the weekend, Infowars obtained credible new information from law enforcement agencies relating individual electronic surveillance records that the NSA kept on Donald J. Trump…all that were obtained illegally through unauthorized government monitoring.
It gets worse. As revealed by the following Dragnet database, it wasn’t just Trump being spied on, but numerous other employees located at Trump Tower and even Trump’s own family members.
This is nothing short of alarming. It will be interesting to see how the left responds now that there is concrete proof that this unconstitutional spying on Trump has been going on for years! [Freedom Daily, 3/20/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]
The Angry Patriot: “BOMBSHELL: NSA Went After Trump’s FAMILY…” Fake news purveyor Angry Patriot claimed that the Infowars report shows “very illegal monitoring of Trump and several of his associates and employees” that “implicate[s]” Obama in “this illegal operation.” The website added that the Infowars article showed “Trump is 100 percent right and NOT being paranoid” about his wiretap claim. From the March 20 article:
While Dems want the country to think spying on Trump is a completely outlandish accusation, a new report from Info Wars tells a different story.
A new source has come forward to reveal a very deep and very illegal monitoring of Trump and several of his associates and employees.
This new report would then implicate two former presidents in this illegal operation: George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.
Obviously, they came up with nothing after more than five years of surveillance, or we would have heard about it at the time. In other words, Trump is 100 percent right and NOT being paranoid because the government actually was spying on him for years!
Both Bush and Obama have some serious questions to answer for right now. Simply put, this Big Brother routine is unacceptable, and both of them need to answer for this crime. [The Angry Patriot, 3/20/17, Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Drudge: “NSA DOCUMENTS: SURVEILLANCE ON TRUMP, FAMILY... MORE… .” The Drudge Report linked to Corsi’s article with the hyperlinks “NSA DOCUMENTS: SURVEILLANCE ON TRUMP, FAMILY... MORE…” and “Project Dragnet… .”
[The Drudge Report, 3/19/17]
NSA Has Said It Did Not Wiretap Trump
Current And Former Government Officials Have Debunked Trump’s Claim. Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper told NBC that “for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign.” FBI Director James Comey “asked the Justice Department … to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion,” according to The New York Times. And a spokesman for Obama said that “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.” [Media Matters, 3/6/17]
NSA Director: “I Have Seen Nothing” From NSA To Suggest “That We Have Engaged In” Asking British Intelligence To Spy On Trump On Trump. In a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, NSA Director Mike Rogers said, “I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in such [wiretap] activity.” From the March 20 hearing:
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): [NSA] Director [Mike] Rogers, in an effort to explain why there was no evidence supporting the president's claim that Obama had wiretapped him, the president and his spokesman Sean Spicer have suggested that British intelligence, through its NSA or GCHQ, wiretapped Mr. Trump on President Obama's behalf. Did you ever request that your counterparts in GCHQ should wiretap Mr. Trump on behalf of President Obama?
MIKE ROGERS: No, sir, nor would I. That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement that's been in place for decades.
SCHIFF: And the Five Eyes are some of our closest intelligence partners and Britain is one of them?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
SCHIFF: Have you seen any evidence that anyone else in the Obama administration made such a request?
ROGERS: No, sir. And again, my view is the same as [FBI] Director [James] Comey. I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity, nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity. [House Intelligence Committee hearing, 3/20/17]
Infowars “Reporter” And His “Sources” Are Birthers
Corsi Was The Birther Movement’s Leading Reporter. Jerome Corsi was one of the leading media figures claiming that Obama’s birth certificate was fake. He claimed in 2008 that Obama’s campaign had “a false, fake birth certificate posted on their website”; said in 2010 that to say Obama is “not a Muslim and that he was born in the United States are both lies"; wrote a 2011 book titled Where's The Birth Certificate?: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President; and tweeted in 2016, “ARPAIO & ZULLO prove OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE FAKE birthers vindicated. …. BHO ineligible IMPEACH.” [Media Matters, 1/31/17]
Arpaio And Zullo Carried Out “Investigation” Into Obama’s Birth Certificate. Arpaio and Zullo spent years investigating Obama’s birth certificate. In 2012, Zullo “spent 50 minutes walking the media through what he said were irregularities in the White House's posted document,” according to The Arizona Republic. Arpaio also held a press conference in December 2016 to claim that “a five-year investigation had ‘proved’ that Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii in 1961 was a fake.” [The Arizona Republic, 12/15/16]
Jones And Infowars Are Conspiracy Theorists
Jones And Infowars Have Pushed Multiple Conspiracy Theories. Alex Jones and Infowars have claimed that the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and that the mass shootings at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, Tucson, San Bernardino, and Orlando were false flag events. Jones has also pushed fringe conspiracy theories about how government elites are trying to manipulate or control the world through covert actions, such as secretly encouraging “homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children.” [Media Matters, 12/1/16, 2/8/17]