Susan Rice's NSA demasking denials don't add up — Former CIA Analyst

Unravelling the Team Obama anti Trump leak machineMore

It was reported this week that Rice, in her role as national security adviser, asked intelligence agencies to "unmask" the names of Trump associates mentioned in reports of surveillance activities.

He declined to say if he had personally reviewed new intelligence to bolster his claim but pledged to explain himself "at the right time". We don't know precisely the question she was asked due to how the interview was edited, but PBS host Judy Woodruff led into Rice's comment by saying she asked Rice about Nunes's disclosure that Trump associates "may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration".

By way of explanation, Rice told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that unmasking is a tool to help consumers of intelligence - which is what she was as national-security adviser - to understand the context of overheard discussions.

Rice, in an interview with MSNBC, acknowledged that she sometimes asked for the names of Americans referenced in reports. Will you advocate for war without constitutional or congressional authority?' And she said no.

When asked if Rice, who has denied leaking the names of Trump associates under surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies, had committed a crime, the president said, "Do I think?"

Susan Rice's interview Tuesday added more smoke. "Yes, I think." The president did not specify what law he thinks Rice may have broken.


It's important to note that Rice wasn't an intelligence official or analyst.

The Trump White House has been particularly incensed that intercepted conversations between Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Russia's ambassador to the USA surfaced in news reports before the inauguration.

Still, the White House has appeared to find other ways to promote the idea that Obama officials were conducting improper surveillance of Trump's team.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) first suggested that he had seen intelligence reports that contained the identities of Trump associates, including some where the names were masked but were easily identifiable.

If the information involving Americans has no intelligence value, it is supposed to be destroyed. After ruling out US enforcement agencies, the heads of whom have denied any wiretapping, Spicer said Obama used GCHQ to do his bidding instead.

FBI Director James Comey told Congress last month that an investigation examining Russian interference in the presidential election, and potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, began in late July. Rice remained a target, however, for conservatives and critics of Obama's handling of the Syrian civil war - and she also made enemies within the government over what critics called her irresolution and micromanagement. "And in that office was the vice president and five top aides of the President".

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