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.
Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are probing any ties between Trump associates and a Russian influence operation against Hillary Clinton during the election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Devin Nunes, is also investigating how the Obama White House kept tabs on the Trump transition after the election through unmasking the names of Trump associates incidentally collected in government eavesdropping of foreign officials.
Rice herself has not spoken directly on the issue of unmasking. Last month when she was asked on the “PBS NewsHour” about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said: “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.” –Bloomberg
Watch Rice in PBS NewsHour interview here:
It appears the political left are having trouble embedding a false narrative or else they wouldn’t need to expend so much energy attempting to deceive their audience.
Represenative Adam Schiff is the vice-chair of the House Intelligence Committee and as a consequence of his position he is a member of the Intelligence Oversight Gang of Eight.
♦ Adam Schiff can go and look at any information Chairman Devin Nunes has already reviewed. ♦ Adam Schiff does not want to see the intelligence because he would be unable to keep lying about it. ♦ Devin Nunes cannot share the Go8 level intelligence with the full committee because the committee is not authorized to see it; only Adam Schiff can.
Schiff has had no problem in himself acting as a surrogate for Team Obama or Team Hillary. That deafening silence you hear is the outrage he has expressed over the leaking of classified information to the press designed to fatally wound the Trump transition. Schiff had no problem repeating claims without evidence that Team Trump was colluding with the Russians. Now he is troubled by Nunes citing reports proving President Trump was right about his team being monitored.
Schiff and his brethren insist that this still doesn’t prove Trump’s claim that Obama ordered the surveillance. This is a distinction without a difference. It was Obama who ordered a review of alleged Russian hacking of our elections, demanding that he receive it before he left office. It was President Obama who expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share monitored communications with the 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections. Obama made the leaking of communications he arguably knew were being monitored easier and more likely. President Obama wanted to damage the incoming Trump administration.
Schiff should be shouting from the rooftops demanding the intelligence leakers be found and incarcerated and that the names of those who approved he “unmasking” of the names of American citizens caught up in the “incidental” collection of the conversations with foreign nationals be revealed. Names of such Americans are supposed to be masked by default, unless unmasking is approved for some reason. As the Weekly Standard reported:
Nunes told reporters Wednesday that Trump transition members’ communications were repeatedly intercepted during legal surveillance on a foreign target, otherwise known as incidental collection. These communications were then disseminated in intelligence reports, despite having “little or no apparent foreign intelligence value.” A number of Trump transition members’ names were also revealed through a process known as “unmasking,” he said….
April Doss, a former NSA lawyer who spent over a decade at the agency, told THE WEEKLY STANDARD earlier in March that intelligence officials are required to follow strict procedures governing foreign intelligence collection. These procedures protect the identity of U.S. persons.
“If the communication appears likely to be worth reporting on — there’s a reason why other people in government need to see an intelligence report that says, “here’s what our foreign target was doing”– they’ll write the report in a way that focuses only on the foreign target and that doesn’t name the U.S. person, that literally inserts something like ‘U.S. person number one,’” Doss said.
Schiff was the individual who called the heroes who fought off terrorists from the roof of the CIA annex in Benghazi liars for their account of the Obama/Clinton administration’s denying security improvements, ignoring warnings of the attack, and the issuance of a stand-down order for any rescue, an order they ignored. As Investor’s Business Daily recounted in 2014:
The California Democrat who suggested that his party boycott the Benghazi Select Committee as a waste of time now accuses those who fought on the CIA annex roof of lying “to promote a new book.”
Schiff, who was not in Benghazi that night, says Paronto, Geist and Tiegen are making up a tale to sell their book, as if their story is less plausible than the proven lie that the Benghazi attack was caused by an inflammatory YouTube video, a myth promoted both by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
After seeing clips of Schiff saying the contractors were trying to sell their book and Smith claiming a stand-down order “was never given,” Geist said he “would like to invite Mr. Schiff to a debate… we can talk about it.” He wondered if Schiff wished to “say that to my face.”
Schiff thought the Benghazi heroes were making it up and now he thinks Nunes and Team Trump are making up the fact that they were caught up in Obama administration monitoring of conversations in which they were involved or mentioned. Schif was not being honest then or now. It is he who is not telling the truth.
Megyn Kelly also DESTROYED Adam Schiff and his LIES about Benghazi. Watch here: