According to a new report by Bloomberg News, U.S. officials are reporting that White House lawyers became aware last month that former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports associated with the Trump campaign and transition operations on numerous occasions.
Rice’s actions were discovered during a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of people in the United States whose communications are collected incidentally through electronic eavesdropping. Those names are usually redacted from summaries of monitored communications and are identified in reports simply as “U.S. Person One,” or the like.
The review was being conducted by the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick. Bloomberg reports that in February, Cohen-Watnick uncovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports associated with Trump’s transition operations. Cohen-Watnick alerted the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed additional requests from Rice and instructed him to stop his own research into the unmasking policy.
Cohen-Watnick alerted the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed additional requests from Rice and then instructed him to stop his own research into the unmasking policy.
The intelligence reports contained summaries of monitored conversations, mostly between foreign officials who were addressing the Trump transition. But, in some instances, reports picked up direct contact between Trump associates and the monitored officials.
According to a U.S. official familiar with the reports, they revealed high-value political information on the Trump transition, such as who was involved in meetings with the Trump team, the foreign policy views of Trump insiders, and plans for the incoming administration.
Rice has not yet commented on the allegations which are integral in the current investigations regarding Trump and his “wiretapping” claims.
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