Rice was within legal rights to 'unmask' Trump associates

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05 April, 2017

The Washington Post reports that major Trump donor and Blackwater founder Erik Prince met with a Vladimir Putin confidant during the presidential...

When asked about the remark, Rice declined to respond, saying she has been "called a lot of things by folks on the right that are unfair and disingenuous".

Eli Lake reported for Bloomberg News on Monday that Rice was behind the requests to unmask the identities of members of the Trump transition team inadvertently caught up in intelligence signals intercepts.

Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media, was unimpressed with the interview, tweeting that she has "no credibility and adding, "Lyin', leakin' Susan Rice stammered through her soft ball interview with Dem PR person Andrea Mitchell".

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"If it's good enough for much of the media to report on this supposed issue of collusion between the Trump administration and Russian Federation, and everyone from (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi to members of the Intel community - (former top Obama national security official James) Clapper, (Obama's former Acting CIA Chief Mike) Morell and others at the Agency have all said there's nothing there". "Unmasking" private USA citizens to make their names appear on intelligence reports is not illegal when tied to a legitimate investigation, but civil libertarians warn the process could be used to skirt regulations that prevent the federal government from spying on Americans. "I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today". She gave, as a hypothetical answer, "if two foreigners were having a conversation" about a possible bombing with an American.

"When that occurred, what I would do - or what any official would do - is to ask their briefer whether the intelligence community could go through its process - and there's a long-standing established process - and decide whether that information as to who that identity of the US person was could be provided to me", she said. The unmasking of the identities of USA citizens, which would more typically be redacted in documents pertaining to such surveillance, requires fulfillment of two criteria, according to testimony from Rogers. It was not then typically broadly disseminated throughout the national security community or the government. "The notion that some people are trying to suggest, is that by asking for the identity of a person is leaking it, is unequivocally false". "There is no connection between unmasking and leaking".

Trump first levied the charge on Twitter one month ago, claiming that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. "It is absolutely false that Obama officials used intelligence for political purposes". And the fact is that this latest unmasking episode is a smokescreen to distract from the broader issue - which is that the President of the United States made a completely unfounded and very serious allegation against his immediate predecessor.

RICE: Absolutely false. And the intelligence community, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has made that very clear. She said the White House isn't responsible for ordering that type of surveillance.


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