World Net Daily | Garth Kant – Multiple reports indicate former National Security Adviser Susan Rice was the Obama administration official who requested the unmasking of incoming Trump administration officials.
Mike Cernovich broke the story in an article in Medium on Sunday that said, “The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests.”
Unmasking is the revealing of names within the intelligence community of U.S. citizens whose communications were monitored during foreign surveillance.
According to Fox News, the unmasked names of people associated with Donald Trump were sent widely to top officials in the Obama administration.
That is a potential felony.
The unmasked names were reportedly sent to every member of the National Security Council, former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan and some officials at the Defense Department.
The NSA is required to remove the names of Americans incidentally collected during foreign surveillance before sharing intelligence with other agencies unless there is an issue of national security, but Rice reportedly requested the unmasking of the identities of Trump associates.
Sources said some identities of those who were not unmasked were easy to discern because of telling details in the intelligence reports.
Cernovich also reported that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman has had the information about Rice for at least two days, but “has chosen to sit on it in an effort to protect the reputation of former President Barack Obama.”
Sources described as U.S. officials familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that White House lawyers discovered last month that 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.”
The information reportedly came to light during a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on unmasking the identities of people not targeted for electronic monitoring but whose communications were intercepted incidentally.
Two sources told Bloomberg the review was conducted by the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick.
The sources told Bloomberg that “Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities.”
One source said the reports “contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.”
Circa News reported that National Security Council staff in the Trump administration discovered evidence of Rice’s involvement in the unmasking in computer logs left behind by the Obama administration.
Intelligence sources told Circa News that the logs indicated Rice began to show interest in NSA materials that included unmasked Americans’ identities last July when Trump became the GOP presidential nominee, then accelerated after he won the election in November.
Circa News also reported that “most if not all” of the surveillance information collected on the Trump team had nothing to do with any of the alleged election interference by Russia.
Investigators will now want to determine if President Obama was aware of the unmasking, or perhaps even requested it.
Rice and Obama were particularly close.
In a Newsweek profile of Rice in 2014, a member of the National Security Council said she was “like a sister” to Obama.
Last month on PBS, Rice denied knowing anything about reports that information on Trump and his associates was incidentally collected.
However, Rice’s credibility previously has come under question.
She went on all the major Sunday talk shows in September 2012 after the terrorist attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, to blame the incident on a spontaneous protest over an Internet video defaming Islam, even though evidence has since shown the Obama administration knew that not to be true at the time.