Sean Hannity Tom Fitton surveillance claim

Sean Hannity
Audio file

Citation From the October 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Well everybody starts sending me this tweet by our friend Tom Fitton over at Judicial Watch, and then I'm looking at the piece that they put out, an investigation that they're involved in, to find out if this Ukraine ambassador ordered State Department officials to monitor journalists and friends of the president, or people that are outspoken in terms of the president. In other words, illegal surveillance perhaps took place, I can't say for sure that this did. Certain figures in the media and elsewhere, private conversations that are being held between private citizens were being monitored, in an effort to find out information that could hurt Donald Trump -- that would be a constitutional violation. That would be something that you would expect in a third-world banana republic. 


Judicial Watch has obtained some information indicating that this ambassador may have violated laws and government regulations by ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons, using State Department resources, and apparently, reportedly ordered the monitoring keyed to the following terms: “Biden," “Giuliani," “Soros," “Yovanovitch." And Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom Of Information Act request with the State Department, and continue to gather facts. All right, I want to stay very clear of anything that is not factual here, Tom Fitton. 


HANNITY: I've read the piece. Do we know this happened for a certainty? We don't know yet. 

FITTON: Well, our sources say it did, and so the concern is, and this is the process, is that the government, and certainly the government abroad, our representatives abroad, can't use government resources to track even the public communications, like tweets or public comments by American citizens. And so, evidently that was going on in the Ukrainian embassy, using the search terms that you highlighted, "Biden," "Giuliani," "Soros" and "Yovanovitch." They then sought additional help to do that process, that project, from the State Department here in Washington, D.C., and that's when someone said "Well, hold on a second. You can't be doing this at all, you got to stop it. It's illegal."

And so, we don't know if they actually stopped it, we're not sure how long it went on for, but we do know that this target list is pretty darn accurate. I don't know if it's complete, but it included you, other Fox News personalities, and contributors associated with Fox, and other conservatives who are known for taking strong stances on social media, certainly allied with President Trump generally. 

So, it's very curious that they would be concerned about these issues, Biden, Soros and Yovanovitch, way back at -- it looks like the date timeframe is back in March of this year, so it was before she was removed. 


HANNITY: But this wasn't even really an issue at the time, was it? I mean, we were focused on many other things at that time, if I recall, and, you know, not the least of which I guess was the pending Mueller report. When did the Mueller report come out?

FITTON: The Mueller report came out around the same time, but the noises about Biden and Ukraine began around that same timeframe. I should go back and check. So, you have to wonder why it is -- we don't know why these individuals such as you made it onto that list.


FITTON: This is why the coup's taking place against President Trump, because they want to freeze any investigation of these issues, both in Ukraine and in China. They're targeting Trump, they're targeting president -- his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani now, and you can see that they were nervous about what others were saying about it. It looks like, according to our reporting, from -- from you on down, and it's just an incredible list, and you know, the idea that you would have illegal monitoring of not only all these Fox News journalists, I'm sure all the other media are rushing to your defense, Sean -- but the president's lawyer and the president's son, it ought to be concerning that this abuse was taking place. This is -- to me, this is just another extension of spygate. 

HANNITY: It is -- if we have the powerful tools of intelligence, and by the way, this is not the first time in all of this process, in all of our coverage that I have been told -- you know, I have to go about my daily life, what am I supposed to do -- that this type of thing has happened to me, and I know to others. So, then the question becomes at what point do the American people step up and say we can't live in a country that denies fundamental constitutional rights to people, like is happening here. Because to me, we lose the country if the powerful tools of intelligence are turned on the American people.

We saw that with the General Flynn case. I mean, what happened in his case is they knew the whole conversation that had taken place, because they had raw intelligence, he had been unmasked, and they had the information when McCabe's -- and Comey, Comey bragging about taking advantage of the chaos, which he'd never do in the Obama or Bush administration, sending his FBI guys in, and his partner, the deputy director of the FBI, McCabe, is saying you don't need a lawyer. Well, that would deny him his Miranda rights, on that issue alone the case should be thrown out. But then, they went into his office knowing the full conversation, because they had unmasked and surveilled him, and they had raw intelligence on the whole conversation. So, they were setting him up, and he was immediately in a perjury trap, without even the benefit of a lawyer to tell him "Maybe you should clam up, here."

FITTON: Well, it's -- Sean, they're trying to remove a president based on allegations from an anonymous source, who it looks like may have illicitly shared classified information with the investigator, Adam Schiff. It's -- it's -- it's just another -- it's another variation of the theme, of the civil rights of those who are targeted taking a backseat to this power politics where they abuse the rule of law to change political results. It's a constitutional crisis we're in, and it's not because of any misconduct by President Trump. It's because of the misconduct of those investigating him, who were purporting to be concerned about his activities. 

HANNITY: Yeah. What do you think -- I know you work with a lot of lawyers, I know you're not a lawyer yourself, but what do you think is the legal recourse if in fact such illegality happens, to citizens, even people like myself as a public figure, do I have a right to -- for recourse, or a path for recourse, in something like this? 

FITTON: Well, there could be potential violations of the privacy act, that's -- that's an easy call. The other law that covers this is the Smith-Mundt Act, which prohibits the US government from propagandizing Americans or targeting, and, or targeting them, the State Department especially. So, you know, talk to any civil rights lawyer. They'll probably provide you all sorts of other claims you could pursue, when the government is illegally targeting you with a spy operation, even if they are just tracking your public comments. 

And, you know, I guarantee you, all your listeners will be very nervous to know if this -- that -- if the government was tracking what they were doing, and keeping a file on them, which is what purportedly may have been going on here, and we're just trying to figure out what the scope of it was and how far it went, but it's just disturbing it took place at all, because the government's not allowed to do that. It -- because obviously, it's a chilling effect, and the law doesn't allow it because it's a chilling effect.