- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Erik Prince, the one-time Blackwater USA chief who had a remote role in the Donald Trump campaign, told the House Intelligence Committee that the Barrack Obama administration had him under surveillance and “that’s illegal.”

The committee on Wednesday released a transcript of Mr. Prince’s Nov. 30 testimony in which he talked about a business trip to the Indian Ocean country of Seychelles to hold a summit with United Arab Emirates business partners.

At the Jan. 11, 2017 meeting, he said he was introduced to a Russian fund manger, Kirill Dmitriev, with whom he had an unscheduled 30-minute discussion at a bar.

Any person connected with Mr. Trump who has met with a Russian is susceptible to investigation.

He expressed dismay that Democrats want to investigate a private citizen meeting well after the election, if the purpose of the inquiry has been supposed Russian-Trump election collusion.

The Washington Post ran a story about his trip last April.

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“What really bothers me and what I would hope the intelligence committee is doing is question why Americans that were caught up in the waves of signals intelligence, 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?” the former Navy SEAL testified.

“That’s illegal. 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.”

He said he was told that an Obama national security council staffer leaked the story to the Post.

The Washington Times reported on Wednesday about Obama national security aides making long, concerted efforts in public and private to damage President Trump as candidate, president-elect and president.

Mr. Prince was surveilled in the closing days of the Obama administration.

The administration opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016. The FBI based it in part on a Democratic Party-funded dossier filled with unproven allegations against Trump and his people.

Mr. Prince said he had an unofficial limited role in the campaign. He submitted a few policy papers to adviser Steven Bannon. He met Mr. Trump briefly at a fund raiser photo op.

Mr. Prince sold his Blackwater USA security firm which was relied on greatly by the military and diplomats overseas. He is now a global businessman and private equity firm member.

There have been media reports he proposed a private spy service for the U.S. government. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said there is no such proposal being weighed.



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