Susan Rice unmasks U.S. persons swept-up in foreign surveillance

Former national security adviser Susan Rice unmask a number of U.S. citizens

First reported by Bloomberg former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice was reportedly behind dozens of requests to unmask the identities of U.S. persons swept-up in foreign surveillance reports that connected to the Trump transition.

This Bloomberg story came about after they obtained a report from a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on unmasking, in which the identities of people in the U.S. who are not being targeted in electronic surveillance, but whose communications get collected incidentally, are disclosed.

The unmasked names, of people associated with the Trump transition team, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.

The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office.

Those identities are typically supposed to be minimized, except when that information would provide foreign intelligence value.

Former adviser Rice’s conduct would likely meet that broad standard, and it does not appear that she broke the law. The disclosures also do not provide any support for President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated statements on Twitter on March 4 that he had been wiretapped on the orders of President Barack Obama.

Last night the Senate said that they would be talking to Rice at some point during their investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.

The new revelations about Rice’s involvement also shed more light on the controversy surrounding House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who announced last month to the press and to the White House – without first meeting with members of his own committee – that he’d seen intelligence reports indicating that Trump associates had been incidentally swept-up in foreign surveillance.

With both Congressman Nunes and Secretary Rice under the spotlight look for the House and Senate intelligence committees, to bring both people in this investigation to the Hill sometime soon.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.