Susan Rice vehemently denies 'unmasking' allegations calling them 'absolutely false'

Former national security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described the requests as normal and said they were justified by the need for the president's top security adviser to understand the context of reports sent to her by the nation's intelligence agencies. When asked if Rice had committed a crime, Trump said: "do I think?".

Speaking to The New York Times Wednesday, Trump said, "I think it's going to be the biggest story".

"It's such an important story for our country and the world", POTUS continued.

According to a US official, Trump national security aides discovered after the inauguration that Rice asked that the identities of the Republican's advisers be "unmasked". Though this ex-official knows nothing about the situation with Rice, he said that, since she was doing transition work with Trump's team at the time, it would have been "highly relevant to know whether these people were talking with the Russian government as well". Nunes and some other Republicans say this supports Trump's claim that the Obama White House had Trump's team under surveillance.

Rice has since admitted that surveillance of Trump officials was ongoing, but continues to deny being the source of intelligence leaks.

"The standard is whether the USA person's identity is needed to understand the importance of foreign intelligence information", Adam Klein, a senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security, told The Daily Signal.

Is there anyone left in America who doesn't think that Russia's hacking and interference with the 2016 election don't deserve a thorough investigation?

Trump also blasted the media for not sufficiently reporting on the Rice story, according to The Times, but spared his favorite cable news channel, Fox News, of criticism, even taking the opportunity to defend the network's most-watched personality.

'No spreadsheet, no nothing of the sort, ' Rice said.

In an interview Tuesday, she didn't exactly deny the unmasking but made clear that intelligence was never used for political purposes during her tenure and that she never leaked information to the press. In an exclusive interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Monday, April 4, Rice flatly denied allegations she tried to "unmask" Trump campaign officials caught on surveillance by US intelligence services with ill intent.

A former national security official told CBS News that when such information on USA individuals is approved and provided by the intelligence community, it is typically given directly to the senior official who made the request and is not broadly disseminated. 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. The identities of at least some Trump associates were unmasked, in part at Susan Rice's request or direction.

En fin, the crucial unmasking - Who is that masked man in the White House? - is yet to come.

To comport with the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, USA intelligence analysts follow a mandatory "minimization" procedure whereby the identities of Americans are typically concealed in disseminated reports.

It's fair to say they are more enthusiastic about that story.

The Post reports that UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russian Federation could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria - a Trump administration objective that would likely require major concessions to Moscow on US sanctions.

"It's not the role of the National Security Council".

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