According to a Fox News report on Monday, President Obama’s former national security adviser, Susan Rice, was responsible for exposing, or “unmasking,” the identities of a number of American citizens who were innocently caught up in surveillance sweeps by American intelligence agencies. These individuals were part of the “incidental” electronic surveillance of Trump and his team for up to a year before he was inaugurated.
Distribution of Names
After the names were unmasked, they were distributed to the entire National Security Council and a few people in the Defense Department. They were also sent to the Director of the National Intelligence Agency at the time, James Clapper, and head of the CIA, John Brennan. Basically, the information for all these people went to all the top brass at the White House, including Assistant to the President, Ben Rhodes.
Susan Rice is a Professional Liar. She lied about Benghazi ,and She lied about Unmasking 3 days ago.No need to ask her anything,She’ll Lie🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Le83mRrhBq
— Joey D (@Bahamajoe0) April 4, 2017
According to Circa, there were computer logs left behind discovered by the NSA staff when the Obama administration left. They showed that the intelligence reports were accessed by Rice beginning sometime in July until Trump received the Republican nomination. Access became more frequent once Trump was elected in November, launching a transition that continued through January. The reports included NSA intercepts about Donald Trump and his associates.
“Politically Weaponized” Intelligence Agencies
Radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, said Monday he sees Rice’s surveillance unmasking as a demonstration of how “the Obama administration weaponized politically our intelligence services against the Republicans and against Trump.” But, not everyone believes that the information was going to be used to do harm. Some believe that Rice was just doing her job.
Expect lots of attacks on Rice, plus more dog piling on former officials who speak publicly (i.e. Farkas) in an effort to chill speech.
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) April 3, 2017
Limbaugh explained that he believes because the Obama administration couldn’t get FISA warrants to surveil Trump people within the United States, but could on foreign calls being placed TO Trump’s people, they were able to “legally” get away with the surveillance. Once Rice had them unmasked, then she and the Obama camp could do what they wanted with the surveillance information.
Also, according to Circa, the political weaponization of our intelligence agencies was bolstered when Obama opened the door for his political aides like Rice to more easily gain access to unmasked Americans’ names in NSA intercepts. This was accomplished through a series of rule changes starting in 2011, and ending with a last-minute executive order from Obama with less than two weeks remaining in his presidency.
She was the National Security Advisor reading a report of foreign officials discussing US persons coming into WH, this isn’t odd or wrong https://t.co/oD25uKkukM
— Nada Bakos (@nadabakos) April 3, 2017
It’s clear after this week’s news reports that Washington may not be through with her yet. In fact, Republican Sen. Rand Paul said he believes Rice should testify before Congress about the unmasking of names gathered during routine surveillance. Paul said he didn’t want to downplay the fact that this unmasking could easily be used for blackmail. Hopefully, Rice really was just trying to maintain the safety of the country. However, further investigation is still a good idea to get to the truth of the matter and prevent intelligence agencies from unintentionally putting people in harm’s way.
K. Foust, Editor: I’m all for investigating whatever needs to be investigated, but as CNBC points out, Rice may have legitimately just been doing her job. Trump is our president and I hope for his success as I hope for the success of our country. And while I value my privacy I would expect them to listen in on my most private conversations if a suspected threat to our country was on the other line… including the President. What are your thoughts on the matter?