Obama aide denies using intel to spy on Trump advisers

FILE- President Donald Trump speaks before signing executive orders related to trade at the White House in Washington

CNN "New Day" host Chris Cuomo on Tuesday dismissed recent reporting that Obama administration official Susan Rice requested the "unmasking" of members of President Trump's transition team and campaign as nothing more than right-wing propaganda.

Rice, in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, said her senior White House role did give her the ability to request the names of Americans swept up through USA spy craft.

The Washington Post reports that major Trump donor and Blackwater founder Erik Prince met with a Vladimir Putin confidant during the presidential...

"Let me be absolutely clear", Rice responded.

"What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals", diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

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.

On Monday, two reports claimed that Rice, who was Obama's top national security aide, had helped reveal the identities of Trump officials whose communications were swept up in regular U.S. spying on foreign targets. Citing anonymous "U.S. officials familiar with the matter", Lake reported Monday that the former national security adviser "requested the identities of USA persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign".

Rice described a hypothetical example of a conversation between two foreigners about a conversation they were having with an American who was proposing to sell them hi-tech bomb-making equipment. Typically, when Americans are swept up in foreign surveillance, they are referred to as something like "Person One", hiding their names.

She explained it would be necessary to find out the identity of the American to see if he was a legitimate threat or just some "kook".

"The notion that which some people are trying to suggest that by asking for the identity of an American person is the same as leaking it is totally false". "There is no connection between unmasking and leaking".

White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice, shakes hands with incoming White House National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, during the 2017 Passing The Baton conference at the United States Institute of Peace.

"That's absolutely false", she said. Both are forms of "incidental collection", involving communications about or involving a US person that are picked up during legal surveillance of a foreign target.

While this new information adds another layer of intrigue into what was going on during the campaign, it would still seem to fall short of proving the president's original claim back on March 4 that he was being "wiretapped" by President Obama. That's a very serious allegation, it had no basis in fact, and it wasn't typical of the way that presidents treat their predecessors and it's not indicative of the tone and collaboration that we sought to achieve. Even Republicans who have been critical of White House efforts to muddy the Russian Federation investigations have said it is imperative to get to the bottom of her handling of Trump-related intelligence.

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