In third world countries and authoritarian dictatorships, the ruling party uses the surveillance state to spy on their opposition and selectively leak information to destroy their rivals.

Many believed it could never happen in America.

But recent revelations show Barack Obama has engaged in what some are calling his worst abuse of power yet.

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned in the wake of damaging leaks that – although they provided no evidence of wrongdoing – created a critical mass of negative coverage that rendered him unable to perform his job.

After his resignation, the New York Times published what many in the media claimed was a “bombshell” report about Trump campaign advisors and associates who had been in contact with Russian individuals who may have been intelligence agents.

However, the story buried the significant finding that investigators had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians in the leaked emails of prominent Democrats.

But, the story did reveal some disturbing findings.

Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador were picked up from intercepted phone calls – where no warrant was obtained.

The communications between Trump campaign advisors and the Russians were also part of electronic intercepts.

This is a dangerous scenario.

The Obama administration – and the spy state it presided over – used surveillance against American citizens who are political opponents.

The information is being leaked to damage them despite no one providing any evidence of criminal conduct or attempts made by the Trump campaign to participate in Russian efforts to swing the election.

In the Times “bombshell” story, they hid his key fact far down in their report:

“Several of Mr. Trump’s associates, like Mr. Manafort, have done business in Russia, and it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society. Law enforcement officials did not say to what extent the contacts may have been about business.

Officials would not disclose many details, including what was discussed on the calls, which Russian intelligence officials were on the calls, and how many of Mr. Trump’s advisers were talking to the Russians. It is also unclear whether the conversations had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself.”

And the FBI will not be charging Flynn with a crime.

So what was the purpose of these selective leaks?

The leakers – who many believe are Obama loyalists buried in the intelligence community – were motivated by revenge.

Flynn was an Obama critic who wanted to reveal the secret side-deals Obama had made with Iran as part of their nuclear agreement.

But these leaks forced him out of the government before he could share the truth with the American people.

Others believe the leaks were ultimately motivated by a desire to throw the Trump administration into chaos.

The reporting on this story has produced sensational headlines that has consumed the media, but as of yet, still does not offer any evidence of proof to back up the charges.

However, the leakers – and the spying which occurred on Obama’s watch – is one of the greatest underreported scandals of recent memory.