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Fri May 26, 2017, 11:33 PM

Who Spies on Presidents [View all]

It's interesting to consider “who spies on US presidents?” in a historical context. Let's look at two examples, both of which can be found in books of White House tapes. The two are Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. It's worth comparing how both of them responded, compared with Donald Trump.

For LBJ, we'll look at “Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965,” (Simon & Schuster; 2001), the second of Michael Beschloss's series. On March 29, 1965, LBJ calls Nicholas Katzenbach, the Attorney General. It has become obvious that Johnson and others in his administration have had their phones tapped.

“I'm a red-hot, one-million-two percent civil liberties man, and I'm just against them I guess you've got to have them in treason or something,” Johnson tells him, but he demands – repeatedly – that the Attorney General shut down other FBI taps.

Katzenbach tells LBJ that he thinks the CIA taps phones, but not within the United States. Time would prove him to be wrong on that. He also notes that military intelligence is the likely source of the White House taps. Johnson is only mildly surprised, but it is evident he will not challenge the military on this issue. (See pages 251-256)

In a too frequently overlooked chapter in the Nixon administration, we look to Douglas Brinkley & Luke Nichter's “The Nixon Tapes,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2014), the first of two volumes of Nixon tapes. On December 21, 1971, Nixon speaks with Erhlichman and Mitchell, after learning that the Joint Chiefs had placed a spy in Kissinger's office.

Nixon calls this “a federal offense of the highest order.” He demands an immediate investigation. However, he soon decides he does not want to go after military intelligence, and opts to merely reassign the spy to a different location. (See pages 331 – 339.)

There are, of course, other examples of presidents being spied upon and/or investigated by various intelligence agencies. And there were other presidents who had strong disagreements with the military and/or intelligence agencies. Yet Trump is the first who has openly attempted to do battle with them in a very public way.

I'm used to scoring boxing matches, round by round, until either it goes to a decision, or there is a knockout. Thus far in the Trump presidency, I think it's fair to say the Trump administration is losing every minute of every round. And the president and his buds are looking tired, bruised, bloody, and hurt. Though I'm still keeping score, I think that a knockout is coming very soon.

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Reply Who Spies on Presidents [View all]
H2O Man May 2017 OP
moondust May 2017 #1
H2O Man May 2017 #2
malaise May 2017 #3
H2O Man May 2017 #4
malaise May 2017 #5
H2O Man May 2017 #6
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #7
H2O Man May 2017 #9
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #10
H2O Man May 2017 #13
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #15
H2O Man May 2017 #16
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #17
H2O Man May 2017 #19
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #23
Me. May 2017 #25
H2O Man May 2017 #26
Me. May 2017 #27
eleny May 2017 #8
H2O Man May 2017 #11
eleny May 2017 #22
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #12
H2O Man May 2017 #14
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #18
H2O Man May 2017 #20
coeur_de_lion May 2017 #21
Me. May 2017 #24