On Monday, a bombshell report revealed that White House lawyers became aware last month that Susan Rice, the former national security adviser to Obama, was the individual responsible for “unmasking” Trump campaign and transition associates.
As reported by Bloomberg:
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.’
Bloomberg reports that two U.S. officials spoke to them on the condition on anonymity, where they admitted that the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, oversaw the review of Trump associates involved with the Trump campaign and transition.
In February, Cohen-Watnick first became aware that Rice attempted to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports on multiple occasions that related to Trump’s team.
After he became aware of what was going on, Cohen-Watnick then spoke with the White House General Counsel’s office on what was happening. Bloomberg reports that the General Counsel’s Office told him to “end his own research into the unmasking policy.”
The situation takes a major turn when we flashback one month to an interview Susan Rice gave to PBS.
When Judy Woodruff asked Rice on “PBS NewsHour” on March 22 about Rep. Nunes’ claims, Rice denied having any knowledge of the intelligence community “unmasking” anyone associated with the Trump campaign and transition.
“I know nothing about this,” Rice responded at the time. “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.”
“So, today, I really don’t know to what Chairman Nunes was referring, but he said that whatever he was referring to was a legal, lawful surveillance, and that it was potentially incidental collection on American citizens,” added Rice.
Here is the video of Rice denying that she had any knowledge or involvement:
Last week, Rep. Devin Nunes reported that he reviewed documents at the White House that were “very concerning,” which leads us to believe today that Nunes reviewed documents showing Rice was involved in the “unmasking.”
“What I’ve read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don’t know that it’s right and I don’t know if the American people would be comfortable with what I’ve read,” Nunes said.
In the coming weeks, the House Intelligence Committee is expected receive the top-secret documents in order to determine whether or not private communications of Trump and his transition team were improperly gathered and “unmasked” under the Obama administration.
Trump’s accusations two months ago about having his “wires tapped” have gone from being an unfounded conspiracy theory to a scary reality proving that our government has the ability to infringe on our civil liberties at will.