As investigations into ties between Russia and officials in the Trump administration gather steam, evidence has mounted that Obama-administration officials may have used classified intelligence reports, perhaps criminally, to expose Trump-Russia links. Lee Smith argues that the previous White House honed this practice when countering opposition to the Iran deal:
Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community [in the process of surveilling Israeli diplomats] was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its [political] opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And—with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access—to terrorize them. . . .
In order to spy on U.S. congressmen before the Iran-deal vote, the Obama administration exploited a loophole. . . . The U.S. intelligence community is supposed to keep tabs on foreign officials, even those representing allies. . . . But it’s different for [their] American interlocutors, especially U.S. lawmakers, whose identities are, according to NSA protocol, supposed to be, at the very least, redacted. But the standard for collecting and disseminating “intercepted communications involving U.S. lawmakers” is much less strict if it they are swept up through “foreign-foreign” intercepts, for instance between a foreign ambassador and his capital. . . .
During the long and contentious lead-up to the Iran deal the Israeli ambassador was regularly briefing senior officials in Jerusalem, including the prime minister, about the situation, including his meetings with American lawmakers and Jewish community leaders. The Obama administration would be less interested in what the Israelis were doing than in the actions of those who actually had the ability to block the deal—namely, Senate and House members. The administration then fed this information to members of the press, who were happy to relay thinly veiled anti-Semitic conceits by accusing deal opponents of dual loyalty and being in the pay of foreign interests.