If you are an out-going president who wants to destroy any chance of your successor doing well while in office (country be damned!), you are probably going to want to use the full force of the intelligence community to attack your political opponents.
Before you can start the process of using the FISA courts as a smokescreen to your unethical political attacks, it is important to identify a foreign nation that you can easily get a judge to approve wiretapping operations against. There are many potential nations you could target but the tried and true patsy – the one guaranteed to get you the authorization you need, is Russia.
Russia has a well-earned patsy-status because of its long history of spying on the United States during the Cold War. Never mind that during the Soviet era, when Russia was an actual expansionist power hell-bent on Marxist domination of the world, the media downplayed the threat as did most political leaders in the Democrat Party. Stick with today – and there is virtually no one today who isn’t well aware that the Russians are almost constantly spying on the United States. They spy with covert operatives, they spy via space-based technologies, they spy via daily cyber intrusions and attacks, and of course they conduct overt spying via their ambassadorial staff, bureaucratic governmental interactions, and commercial enterprises EVERY DAY in the United States. None of this is a secret, but it will help you in your goal to unethically spy on, and ultimately smear, American political opponents who ostensibly have constitutional rights designed to thwart your dirty tricks campaign.
Once you’ve decided on Russia as your fall-guy, it is a simple step-by-step process to engage in Nixonian attacks on your political opponents.
Identify key Russian players who will want to engage in talks with the next President. This should be easy to do because you remember the transition process when you ran for President the first time. For example, a real no brainer would be the Russian Ambassador to the United States. Once you have a solid list of Russians who will want to meet the next American President (no matter who it is) you are ready for your next move.
Step 2: Start leaking lots of ominous information and intelligence to friends in the media and congress regarding “Russian cyber-attacks” and “potential meddling in the upcoming election.” Of course, you are not lying. The Russians are collecting intelligence on a daily basis across the spectrum of intelligence disciplines. However, you must act like you are shocked by the unprecedented “meddling” in our elections. Continue to use the word meddle or meddling because it is almost impossible to define. Lucky for you, the media will never ask you “what do you mean by meddling?”
Your opponent is oblivious and will probably just try to “get along with the Russians.” Perfect! So sit back and wait for the media to pepper your political opponent with questions about vague “ties to Russia”– yes! Now you know that it’s all coming together.
Step 3: As Election Day gets closer, you are going to want to go to FISA court to get your wiretap set up. Don’t over reach and ask for broad powers to tap every call to your opponent’s campaign. That will get turned down. But lucky for you, FISA courts are spring-loaded to approve requests to defend the nation – so go in there and say “look we have unprecedented Russian meddling in our elections.” You know that is a whopper of a lie – but so what? It’ll get approved because no FISA judge wants to explain the request he didn’t approve if the shit hits the fan later. So now you are golden – you have broad wiretapping authority to listen to the Russians (who you don’t really give a rat’s ass about) and more importantly precious legal cover for pulling a Nixon and listening to your opponent’s campaign. Could it get any better than that? Yes, it could! Which is why we are moving to step 4.
Step 4: Continue to generate media excitement and anxiety over these unprecedented (not really unprecedented) Russian attacks. Likewise, keep up with the “concerns” over “meddling.” Now is the time for the 3 options in Step 4.
Option A: Your party wins the election. Congratulations! Before you celebrate too much, store away all the juicy “intelligence” you have on political opponents aligned with your opponent’s campaign. This could come in handy later. For example, during a Supreme Court nominee’s hearing you may be able to destroy an opposing senator as a result of your efficient wiretapping.
Option B: You lose the election – but you have evidence of treason by your opponent. This is highly unlikely, because let’s face it – all your efforts have been contrived political bullshit. You actually kind of like the Russians; certainly you like them better than the other political party. But if by some miracle there is evidence of crimes – go nuclear with the information.
Option C: You lose and you have no evidence of your opponent conspiring with the Russians. Do not panic! This should be expected and still offers great options for character assassination. Begin by leaking that there may be intelligence “linking” your opponent to “meddling” by the Russians. Use the New York Times and CNN because they have such low journalistic standards they will push whatever you provide. Keep leaking a bit here and there. Remember, by this time on the calendar there is no longer any question in public opinion as to whether the Russians “meddled” in the election. Your media friends have seen to that. So keep pushing the “conspiracy to meddle” angle and use cherry-picked, leaked intelligence to character assassinate anyone who objects. Remember, even though you have corrupted a process – you can always say it was all approved by a judge.
At this point you are in great shape to destroy your political opponents. Oh sure, there will be some people that may start to wise up to your abject corruption. Just remember to stay the course. If a politician attacks you, call for long, drawn out investigations that never will solve anything. This helps you destroy your political opponent. Long drawn out investigations covered by your friends in the media will actually be an opportunity to take down more opponents. Here you should focus on minutia – it is perfect for tripping up even the most honest opponent.
If a talk show host or minor media outlet points out you look a lot like Nixon, send out your surrogates and have them say “FISA, FISA, FISA” – this incantation will placate your friends over at the NYT and CNN to shout down and drown out any criticism. Capitalize on your momentum by asking (in hushed tones for maximum effect), “why is such-and-such Radio Talk Show Host not concerned about Russians meddling?”
If you play your cards right, you may get a FISA court to let you wiretap that radio talk show host.