Rice's name requests may be criminal, Trump says

ABC News — Unmasking is the word of the week inside Washington D.C

The folks at CNN and MSNBC are working overtime to splash cold water all over the startling disclosure that President Barack Obama's national-security adviser, Susan Rice, was behind the "unmasking" of Trumpites in transcripts of calls with Russian officials.

In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Mr. Trump was asked if Rice had committed a crime, he said, "Do I think?"

Susan Rice, former President Obama's national security adviser - who is infamously known for her role in misleading the American people about the nature of the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya - is in the middle of another national controversy.

Despite how right-wing media and legislators attempt to spin it, unmasking names is a standard procedure regulated by the National Security Agency in their Signals Intelligence Directive 18.

According to a USA official, Rice asked spy agencies to give her the names of Trump associates who surfaced in intelligence reports she was regularly briefed on.

Bloomberg later reported that White House aides said Rice was responsible for asking intelligence agencies to supply names or other identifying information in the reports.

Axelrod said he was also appalled because Trump's comments came one day before Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a meeting Axelrod said "is probably the most important meeting" Trump has had so far in his presidency.




As a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who has handled requests for demasking the names of American citizens for a USA policymaker, I thought Rice's claims in her interview did not add up. Those names are redacted and minimized, or "masked", to protect the privacy of American citizens, permanent residents and other entities caught up in the legal surveillance of foreigners.

"The intelligence community made the determination whether the identity of that US person could be provided to me", Rice said.

"I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled", said Trump.

It's unclear if the information Nunes received is the same as the materials involving Rice. Law enforcement, congressional and intelligence officials have called that allegation untrue. After ruling out USA enforcement agencies, the heads of whom have denied any wiretapping, Spicer said Obama used GCHQ to do his bidding instead.

Rice is the latest target for Trump and his embattled defenders. "The president of the United States and people in the White House do not have the ability to order such collection". Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Nunes' spokesman said he was was concerned about "possible improper unmasking" of Trump associates in intelligence reports, referring to seeking their names.

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