America’s most important spy agency pulls out all the stops in its investigation of Russian interference in 2016
In my last column, I broke the news that Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, last week explained to his workforce that he had declined to assist President Donald Trump in his efforts to undermine the FBI and its counterintelligence investigation of the White House. As Rogers explained to agency personnel, “There is no question that we have evidence of election involvement and questionable contacts with the Russians.”
With this, Admiral Rogers confirmed the existence of highly classified signals intelligence which establishes some sort of collusion between Team Trump and the Kremlin during the 2016 election campaign. However, now that the Justice Department has appointed Robert Mueller special counsel charged with running the Russia investigation, NSA is pulling out all the stops to track down any additional evidence which might be relevant to the expanded inquiry into KremlinGate.
Specifically, last week NSA sent out an unprecedented order to the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s largest unit. The DO, as insiders term it, manages all of NSA’s SIGINT assets worldwide, making it the most important spy operation on earth. The email sent to every person assigned to the DO came from the Office of General Counsel, the NSA’s in-house lawyers, and it was something seldom seen at the agency – a preservation order.
This order charged every DO official, from junior analysts to senior managers, with finding any references to individuals involved in KremlinGate, especially high-ranking Americans – and preserving those records for Federal investigators. This includes intercepted phone calls and any transcripts of them, emails, online chats, faxes – anything which the agency might have picked up last year.
At the request of NSA officials, I will not name the specific individuals that DO personnel are on the lookout for in SIGINT intercepts, but allow me to establish that the list includes virtually all key members of Team Trump.
Read the rest at The Observer …