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fter President Trump’s evidence-free assertion that, just before the election, his phones were wiretapped by former President Barack Obama, Former Central Intelligence director Michael Hayden has suggested that Trump, during his week-end flurry at his home Mar-a-Lago, Florida, forgot something, namely that he was President.

As per Hayden, all he needed to do to verify what he asserts, and now wants investigated, is to use the powers of the presidency and ask the acting director of national intelligence, or the head of the FBI, to confirm or deny the story he had read from Breitbart, a publication formerly headed by Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist.

Subsequently White House press secretary Sean Spicer asked that Congress investigate. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper categorically denied any suggestion that communications at Trump Tower were wiretapped before the election. Also according to the New York Times, FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s assertion.

Hayden has found Trump claim absurd. “After the mid 1970s the authority was taken away from the president,” he said. “The only way you get there, if you get there at all, is through a judge. He has to have probable cause.” The judge, Hayden explained, could then issue a warrant to the FBI under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

“We’re off the map here,” Hayden said. “We are in unprecedented territory as well.” On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the former spy chief said he believes Trump’s tweeted wiretapping claim was strategic. “He’s trying to detract attention from what was a very, very bad news cycle,” Hayden said. “The president of the United States put his reputation, the reputation of his predecessor, and the reputation of this nation at risk to get at least a ‘draw’ out of the next 24 hours.”

In some way the above statement is reassuring: if there is a method and a strategy, we may still be in the realm of rationality. What if that does not happen to be the case? We would then be in uncharted territory. So the question arises: is there really a method to Trump’s Twitter compulsion, or is it just madness? And if it is that how much longer will the people around him continue to ignore it before they become complicit in it?

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Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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