Michael Hayden, former National Security Agency and CIA Director has spoken out to shut down President Donald Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his New York City Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.
On Tuesday night, Hayden visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where, when asked if they thought it were possible Obama ordered surveillance of Trump’s phones, said “no.”
Colbert responded, noting that President Obama would have had the authority to in fact wiretap Trump’s phones before going on to probe Hayden to explain his reason for dismissing the claims.
Hayden told Colbert that “because in the 1970s, we took the authority to direct that action out of the hands of the president and we put it in the hands of the federal court system.”
Hayden went on to explain:
‘So the only part of the U.S. government, which has the authority, the only part of the U.S. government that can grant the authority to do that, is a federal judge.’
Hayden explained to Colbert that if he, as director of the NSA, wanted to wiretap someone, he would have to prove probable cause that the “intended target of the surveillance was either the agent of a foreign power or was involved in some sort of criminal activity.”
On Saturday morning, Trump set off a media firestorm when he tweeted accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phone calls in his New York City Trump Tower. He also called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy.”
President Obama’s spokesperson, Kevin Lewis, sent out the following tweet in response to Trump’s accusations:
‘Neither @barackobama nor any WH official under Obama has ever ordered a surveillance on any US citizen. Any suggestion is unequivocally false.’
— Kevin Lewis (@KLewis44) March 4, 2017
Attached to the tweet was a statement that reads:
‘A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Watch Hayden’s comments regarding the wiretapping below, via YouTube:
Feature Image is a screengrab via YouTube.