Reporting by Eli Lake contends it was Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, and the woman chosen to spread the Benghazi lies, as the one who unmasked Trump officials. The next action, as we know, was the dissemination of that information. If true, this is significant, as it puts these actions not just directly in the White House, but in Obama’s inner circle.
When you look at the action itself and the information they collected (and Rice specifically sought), and if all this is confirmed as true, it looks very much like the Obama administration was spying on the Trump transition team. This would be a shocking and unprecedented action.
Next question: Will the bureaucratic swamp allow them to get away with it in an effort to save themselves?
White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan 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, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”
The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.
The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they 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.