Obama Official, Susan Rice, behind Unmasking Identities of Trump Team?
Posted by FactReal on April 3, 2017
[Breaking News (
We don’t know if this is fake news.) UPDATE 4/5/2017: Susan Rice accepts participation in the unmasking of U.S. citizens in the course of surveillance operations.]
Eli Lake at Bloomberg News reported today that Susan Rice, Obama National Security Adviser, might be behind the scandal of revealing the names of Trump associates caught in surveillance.
Eli Lakes’s article: “Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel”:
White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”
The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review … In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.
The news about Rice also sheds light on the strange behavior of Nunes in the last two weeks. It emerged last week that he traveled to the White House last month, the night before he made an explosive allegation about Trump transition officials caught up in incidental surveillance. At the time he said he needed to go to the White House because the reports were only on a database for the executive branch. It now appears that he needed to view computer systems within the National Security Council that would include the logs of Rice’s requests to unmask U.S. persons.
FoxNews reported this last Friday without naming Susan Rice:
The U.S. intelligence official who “unmasked,” or exposed, the names of multiple private citizens affiliated with the Trump team is someone “very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world,” a source told Fox News on Friday. […]
For a private citizen to be “unmasked,” or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.
“The main issue in this case, is not only the unmasking of these names of private citizens, but the spreading of these names for political purposes that have nothing to do with national security or an investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election,” a congressional source close to the investigation told Fox News.
The unmasking of Americans whose communications apparently were caught up in surveillance under the Obama administration is a key part of an investigation being led by Nunes, who has come under fire from Democrats for focusing on that aspect.
Nunes has known about the unmasking controversy since January, when two sources in the intelligence community approached him. […]
This was long before Trump sent out his now-infamous March 4 tweets claiming then-President Barack Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower during the 2016 election.
Nunes had asked intelligence agencies to see the reports in question, but was stonewalled.
He eventually was able to view them, but there was only one safe place to see the documents without compromising the sources’ identities — the old executive office building on White House grounds, which has a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) required to view classified or top secret reports. The White House did not tell Nunes about the existence of the intelligence reports, but did help him gain access to the documents at his request, the source said. […]
“Unmasking is not unprecedented, but unmasking for political purposes … specifically of Trump transition team members … is highly suspect and questionable,” an intelligence source told Fox News. “Opposition by some in the intelligence agencies who were very connected to the Obama and Clinton teams was strong. After Trump was elected, they decided they were going to ruin his presidency by picking them off one by one.”
 Bloomberg: “Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel”
 FoxNews: “Intelligence official who ‘unmasked’ Trump associates is ‘very high up,’ source says” (3/31/2017)
– Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes: Trump was Surveilled – (3/22/2017 video, transcript)
– CNN’s John King Shows Susan Rice’s Flip-Flop Re: Unmasking (video)
– Eli Lake, Mark Levin, Adam Housley Talked Re: Susan Rice Unmasking (Video)
– Eli Lake, Hannity Talked Re: Susan Rice Unmasking (Video)
– Flashback: Susan Rice on 5 Sunday Shows Blaming Benghazi Attack on a YouTube Video