Trump's Baseless Smear Of Susan Rice Follows Two Days Of Right-Wing Speculation

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice categorically denied there was any political motivation behind her requests during the final days of the Obama administration to "unmask" the identities of USA persons listed in foreign intelligence reports.

Is there any public evidence to support Trump's claim that Rice may have committed a crime?

This past weekend, Bloomberg View reported that Rice's covert spying activities were discovered by the National Security Council's senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick while he was conducting a review on the "unmasking" of US individuals who are monitored incidentally.

USA persons cannot be surveilled without a warrant, but the "unmasking" of such names can be requested if it is necessary for a national security objective.

On Tuesday, Rice denied being the person who leaked the identity of Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump's former national security adviser: "I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would".

Rice has come under fire this week amid reports that she was responsible for the unmasking of the identities of Trump associates.

I'll take her word for it, though if it had been so pristine, it's unclear why Rice had previously lied and claimed no knowledge of any of it.

"I leaked nothing to nobody, never had, never would", Rice told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

"I think he's a person I know well - he is a good person", Trump told The Times.

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Members of Congress looking into allegations the Obama administration spied on Trump should make the Rice allegations their top priority.

It was Nunes who first raised the unmasking allegations, saying that some names were unmasked in the documents he reviewed.

"This is why. our effort has to be bipartisan - nonpartisan in a more ideal sense", Warner said.

The names of USA citizens "incidentally" mentioned in NSA reports are masked to preserve their identities because America's intelligence agencies are barred from spying on American citizens except in extraordinary circumstances with court approval. "You've got this administration which seems to try to deflect any story with some other outrageous claim, whether it be that the Obama administration somehow hacked into you, or you listened in on the Trump folks, or other claims that are, that have been outrageous about millions of unregistered voters voting".

When a name is unmasked it is only provided to the official who requested it, and therefore unmasking is not equivalent to leaking the name.

Graham is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee that oversees the counterintelligence division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the potential ties between Trump's camp and Russian Federation. He told the Times he would say more "at the right time".

"I have not seen any evidence or any indication of [anything] improper", Warner said. Cernovich's post was amplified by fringe "alt-right" outlets, conservative media, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, and the president's son Donald Trump Jr. She called the unmasking process routine and said she only did it when it pertained to matters of national security.

A Senate Intelligence Committee source said the upper chamber had the same experience. Unmasking does occur, but it is typically done by intelligence or law-enforcement officials engaged in anti-terror or espionage investigations.

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