Trump Today: President says he thinks Obama adviser Rice committed a crime

Posted April 18, 2017

US President Donald Trump accused an official of the Obama administration of committing a crime by asking to "unmask" the names of Trump's associates in intelligence documents, media reports said.

On Tuesday Susan Rice denied that she improperly handled classified intelligence while serving as former President Barack Obama's national security adviser. 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 goal. The list of unmasked individuals reportedly reached authorities at the National Security Council, as well as individuals at the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency.

"If true, these are extremely serious allegations, that basically Susan Rice, according to these allegations was unmasking or making known the names of Americans whose names appeared surveillance of foreign officials".

"I think it's going to be the biggest story", Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office. "It's one of the big stories of our time". "That's absolutely false", Rice said, while also denying having leaked any information. For her to request the "unmasking" of Americans can only mean one thing.

As Obama's national security adviser, Rice said her job was to protect the American people, and in order to do that, she said she received a compilation of intelligence reports every morning from the intelligence community to provide her team with the best information about what was going on around the world. Nunes has since said he was unsure whether associates of Trump participated in the intercepted communications or whether those persons were simply mentioned or referred to by others.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer cast Rice's handling of intelligence in the waning days of Obama's term as suspicious, although he did not detail what he found to be inappropriate.

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"If Rice had indeed unmasked Trump associates' identities in these foreign surveillance reports, that response wouldn't quite make sense", the Post reports, while noting that the precise question she was responding to was not clear because of the way the show was edited.

"This is information about their everyday lives", Rep. Peter King of NY, a member of the House Intelligence committee said.

The bottom line is that Rice, who you may recall produced headaches for the Obama administration when she pushed the story that the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi was caused by spontaneous protests to an anti-Islam video, has some substantial issues to address.

This type of request was not a special practice related to the Trump transition team, though the former official did not dispute the reporting by Bloomberg.

Rice is not, not yet, speaking under oath, so perhaps it doesn't really matter what she says. The intelligence garnered by this illegal activity practised by Susan Rice would have been quietly "buried" in the archives of the bureaucracy.