WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says the government has many options available to conduct surveillance against citizens beyond wiretapping.
In an interview with the Bergen County Record published Sunday, Conway had said that people should think beyond wiretapping in terms of monitoring individuals, saying “there are many ways to surveil each other.”
Her remarks came after a congressional aide’s statement over the weekend saying the House intelligence committee had asked the Trump administration to provide by Monday evidence that Donald Trump’s phones at Trump Tower in New York were tapped. Trump has alleged that then-President Barack Obama ordered the surveillance — a charge that Obama has denied.
James Clapper, who was Obama’s director of national intelligence, has said that nothing matching Trump’s claims, made in a Twitter post, had taken place.
Conway told the Bergen County Record, “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.”
Conway told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that “of course I have no evidence for this,” saying that’s why there’s a need for an investigation.
“I wasn’t making a suggestion about Trump Tower,” she told the network. She said she was answering a question about surveillance “generally,” and without specific reference to the current controversy .
FBI director James Comey has privately urged the Justice Department to dispute Trump’s claim but has not come forward to do so himself.
Sen. John McCain, an influential Republican, said Sunday: “I think the president has one of two choices: either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve, because, if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we have got a serious issue here, to say the least,” the Arizona senator said.
Trump asserted in a tweet earlier this month: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” He continued the allegation against former Obama in other tweets but offered no evidence.
The request for evidence by Monday was made in a letter sent to the Justice Department by the House committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the congressional official. The aide wasn’t authorized to discuss the request by name and requested anonymity.