Washington. Barack Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, repeatedly requested information from the intelligence community on members of the Trump transition team and campaign, unmasking them to an audience beyond the intelligence community in the process. Normally, raw intelligence masks the identity of American citizens caught up in legal surveillance of other targets to prevent their compromise.
In February 2017 National Security Council senior director for intelligence Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition team 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.
Rice denied that she knew anything about members of the Trump transition caught up in incidental intelligence gathering last month. Leaving legal experts to conclude she has lied to Federal agents, which can earn her a prison sentence under US law.
The revelation that Rice requested the documents may explain House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes’ trip to the White House two weeks ago. He needed to go there to view Rice’s criminal activity in person. It would also explain why Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the most ardent Trump critic on wiretapping and leaks, suddenly went silent over the weekend after seeing documents the White House presented to him.