by WorldTribune Staff, December 8, 2017
The founder of the Blackwater private security firm told Congress in testimony last week that he was the subject of illegal surveillance by Obama administration operatives as confirmed by an article in The Washington Post.
The combination, he charged, amounted to a hit job and “political abuse of the intelligence infrastructure”.
Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who donated to and was an unofficial adviser to the Trump campaign, told the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 30 that he was illegally spied on during a meeting with a Russian hedge fund manager in Seychelles last January.
The meeting took place just days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“Here’s what I don’t understand about why I’m here,” Prince told the committee. “If there’s all this rightful concern, if there was actual collusion between the campaign and the Russian government, this meeting didn’t happen until almost two months – more than two months after the election. So if there was all this collusion, why would there even need to be any other follow up meetings?”
The committee is investigating alleged meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and whether Obama administration officials ordered improper surveillance of Trump transition team members.
The Washington Post reported on April 3 that Prince held the meeting in Seychelles to set up a back channel to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prince disputed the Post’s report during his Nov. 30 testimony.
“Why on earth would the Washington Post be running an article on any meeting that a private citizen, me, was having in a foreign country? That’s illegal,” Prince said. “That is a political abuse of the intelligence infrastructure. And that is really dangerous, especially as this committee and the Congress thinks about reauthorizing very wide-ranging intelligence authorities to dig into private Americans’ electronic communications of any sort; that’s what I have an issue with.”
When asked by committee members how he knew the meeting in Seychelles was being monitored, Prince said: “Well unless the Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles, the only way that’s happening is through Sigint (signals intelligence).”
Prince said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon that his point to the committee was “my rights were violated.”
Prince said he became aware the Seychelles meeting was monitored after one of the meeting participants received a call from a U.S. government official an hour after the meeting asking why he had met with Prince.
“Who is going to step up and police the so-called policemen?” he said. “We’re on a path to increasing politicized abuse.”