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Wiretapping Word-Thinking - Dilbert Blog

Wiretapping Word-Thinking

The other day, President Trump declared that “President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

Then the world went nuts. 

Former CIA Director James Clapper denied that Trump was wiretapped, saying, "There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,“

Yet we know General Flynn was in Trump Tower when his conversation with the Russian diplomat were recorded.

Does that mean Flynn was “wiretapped”? 

No. But it might mean the person on the other end was. And we already know he was.

Does it mean Trump Tower was “wiretapped”?

No. But it might mean that the person on the other end was. And we already know he was.

And what does “wiretapping” even mean in a world in which all communications are recorded routinely? if the government records you routinely, and then it decides to look at some of those records, with a court order or without, has any “wiretapping” happened? I don’t think so.

And what does it mean to say “Obama was tapping”? Does it mean he directly ordered it, or does he just have to wonder aloud how awesome it would be if someone did it? We expect presidents to have deniability about the spooky stuff because we watch television shows and that makes us smart.

I don’t have an opinion about what happened, or didn’t happen, with the wiretapping. But this story did make me laugh when I realized we find ourselves in the following fun situation:

1. President Trump is the world’s biggest liar (according to his foes).

And…

2. President Trump now has direct access to more national secrets than any other living human being.

And that means fun. 

This wiretapping situation shows us how much fun it will be. Six months ago, if Trump made a hard-to-believe claim about something that is also hard to verify, the country would assume he was lying, incorrect, or negotiating. Now, if he says something hard-to-believe, such as the recent wiretapping claim, you have to wonder if the President knows something you don’t. Because he knows a lot of somethings you don’t. 

If history is our guide, this odd situation, in which the most famous “liar” in the world also has access to the world’s best secrets, will be more entertaining than dangerous. We’re seeing that entertainment now. Trump can make any claim about hard-to-verify situations and we’ll all have to wonder if he knows something we don’t.

I feel sorry for the people watching the other movie – the one in which President Trump is essentially Hitler. In my movie, he’s having a bumpy transition ride but generally doing the people’s work. My movie is more of a comedy. And you could not write a better comedy than one in which the biggest “liar” in the world is in charge of the biggest secrets in the world.

Mmm, popcorn. 

About North Korea

In other news, watch President Trump force China to put the clamps on North Korea’s missile program by making it clear we’ll handle it for them if they can’t take care of their own backyard. If the United States has to take care of China’s problem for them, it sure would be embarrassing for China. And persuasive.

I base my North Korea prediction on the assumption that by now President Trump has burrowed so far into the brains of the Chinese leadership that he’s already got functional control, Master Persuader style. They just don’t realize it.

If you are a television news producer, you will probably enjoy using the WhenHub app because it will show your invited guests on a map as they approach their various studios. No more worrying who will be late. Just send the guest one text with a link to ask them to temporarily show up on the map on their way to the studio. The geostreaming ends automatically soon after they reach their destination.

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