CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday justified the federal government spying on a political campaign if there are “very real fears” about “something very suspicious going on” with the campaign.
Stelter, host of “Reliable Sources,” defended surveillance of members of Donald Trump’s campaign by the Obama administration by asking, “Don’t you want to know?”
In an interview with Christopher Ruddy, Stelter made his feelings clear by justifying the prior administration’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor members of the Trump campaign.
“There certainly evidence of a willingness to collude,” Stelter said when Ruddy reminded him that, after more than a year of investigation, there has been no discovery of collusion with the Russian government.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 4, 2018
“We had unprecedented surveillance of a political campaign in American history,” Ruddy said. “The House Intelligence Committee says at least 100 members and associates of Donald Trump were surveilled and unmasked, and I think that’s the big story. Why did that go on, based again, on a phony allegation in search of a crime?”
“Because there were very real fears that there was something very suspicious going on with Russia,” Stelter replied.
“Just because a liberal group has a fear about a conservative candidate doesn’t mean they should open up a political investigation,” Ruddy replied, to which Stelter chuckled.
Stelter then cited “Russian bots” and fake news on social media to justify the Obama administration’s actions.
The 4th Amendment to the Constitution protects American citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures” by the federal government.
FISA empowers the government to monitor and record communications of foreign nationals, but does allow surveillance of American citizens only under very specific circumstances, such as when an American citizen is acting as an agent of a foreign government.