Trump Is 100% Vindicated On Wiretapping, and 7 Other Things You Should Know
Yeppers, I said 100% vindicated, and those who disagree are either being stubbornly hyper-literal about the word "wiretap," or the placing of a "physical wiretap," or Obama himself placing the wiretap, or standing by the point Ben Shapiro makes that Trump is still wrong because the surveillance was "incidental."
I'll touch on the "incidental" issue at length in the points below, but to immediately address Ben's argument, even if the collection was incidental, once the unmasking and dissemination of that "incidental" information occurs, that is the Obama administration illegally targeting Trump using surveillance, and that is the exact same thing as outright spying. And being illegally spied on was, of course, Trump's overall claim.
As far as the THIS WASN'T A WIRETAP nonsense, it reminds me of someone accusing a 70-year-old (Trump's age) of lying when he claims someone stole his record collection after the bad guy is found only with the old man's iPod. You said records! Where's the vinyl! Where's the vinyl! Where's the vinyl!
Not for a second did I imagine Trump meant an actual physical phone tap – you know, like you'd see Mike Connors do on "Mannix." Welcome to the 21st Century, pedants!
Anyway, if we're going to obsess over definitions, this is an excerpt from a 2010 MIT book called "Privacy On The Line," which clearly shows that the word "wiretap" fits the exact definition we are talking about:
Wiretapping is the traditional term for interception of telephone conversations. This should not be taken too literally. The word is no longer restricted to communications traveling by wire, and contemporary wiretaps are more commonly placed on radio links [ed. cell phones] or inside telephone offices. The meaning has also broadened in that the thing being tapped need no longer be a telephone call in the classic sense; it may be some other form of electronic communication, such as a fax or data.
Compared with the more precise but more general phrase "communications interception," the word "wiretapping" has two connotations. Much the stronger of these is that a wiretap is aimed at a particular target, in sharp contrast to the "vacuum cleaner" interception widely practiced by national intelligence agencies. The weaker connotation is that it is being done by the police. [ed. Big hat tip to Stuart Dean]