In his first public remarks since taking the reigns as Trump’s CIA Director, Mike Pompeo mocked Kellyanne Conway’s suggestion that Americans were being surveilled through their microwaves.
Politico reports that Pompeo did some work to clarify the role and responsibilities of the CIA:
“Clearing up, he said, what the CIA doesn’t do, Pompeo stressed that it’s a foreign intelligence agency — emphasis on ‘foreign.’
‘We focus on collecting information about foreign governments, foreign terrorist organizations and the like — not Americans,’ Pompeo said, broadly referencing rules that protect Americans’ privacy. ‘To take just one important example, CIA is legally prohibited from spying on people through electronic surveillance in the United States. We’re not tapping anyone’s phone in my hometown of Wichita.’ ”
Her comments were made to New Jersey news company, The Record: “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways,” she said, including a microwave. “We know this is a fact of modern life.”
Kellyanne Conway’s statements were part of her push to spin and diminish Trump’s accusation that President Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the campaign season. That accusation has been widely discredited, though new information shows that FISA warrants were obtained by the FBI to monitor the communications of some Trump associate Carter Page with Russia.
Ironically, the White House was forced to walk back Conway’s comments (she was attempting to walk back Trump’s comments). White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, went so far as to blast the media for not being able to understand a joke, saying the comments were made “in jest.”
You can watch her statements here and make your own judgment: