- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Private messages between President Trump’s former campaign adviser Roger Stone and an entity implicated in the Democratic National Committee hack may have been discovered by the U.S. government during the course of a broader probe targeting the Republican strategist’s personal communications, Mr. Stone alleged Wednesday.

Mr. Stone told The Washington Times on Wednesday that he believes his telephone and internet conversations were accessed by the U.S. government in accordance with a warrant issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a federal law that lets investigators eavesdrop on “agents of foreign power” and their activities.

The Smoking Gun reported first last week that Mr. Stone, 64, swapped private Twitter messages in 2016 with “Guccifer 2.0,” a persona directly involved in last year’s historic DNC hack and widely believed to be a front deployed by Russian military intelligence. Mr. Stone later provided copies of those conversations to The Times, but defended the interactions as “completely innocuous.”

Weighing in nearly a week later, Mr. Stone said in a statement Wednesday that The Smoking Gun article is “rife with information that could only be learned by surveillance of my domain and eavesdropping on my email, phone calls and texts.”

“There is additional information in the story as well as in several of the spinoff stories that could only have been acquired by surveillance of my communications — further evidence that a FISA warrant was approved to monitor my email and computerized data,” Mr. Stone told The Times, adding that “someone inside the system” must have illegally provided details of the probe to The Smoking Gun.

“Leaking or publishing such information is a felony punishable by 10 years in jail,” Mr. Stone told The Times.

While unsubstantiated, Mr. Stone’s claim comes as Congress considers similar “wiretapping” allegations made earlier this month by Mr. Trump against his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee has since agreed to investigate Mr. Trump’s claim while investigating allegations of Russian interference involving last year’s White House race, but told reporters Wednesday that the Justice Department has yet to provide the panel with information supporting the president’s claim.

Mr. Stone, meanwhile, said he welcomes the opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill, and that he hopes lawmakers are “equally vigorous” in questioning members of the Obama administration “about what they know about the surveillance of the Republican nominee for President in 2016.”

Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser, resigned last month after it was revealed that he misled the White House over conversations he had with a Russian ambassador prior to Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Those conversations were discovered during the course of “routine” eavesdropping undertaken against foreign diplomats, officials told CNN afterwards.

House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, said Wednesday that he wants to know if intelligence concerning Americans other than Mr. Flynn were incidentally collected during similar efforts, PRI reported.

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