It started off as rumor put forth by controversial conservative Mike Cernovich, who reported hearing from sources in the administration that it was one of Barack Obama’s closest advisors, Susan Rice, who illegally unmasked the names of members of the Trump team.
Cernovich’s hunch was just validated by Eli Lake of Bloomberg, who writes:
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.
This revelation, which will come as bombshell to Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, indeed fits a pattern with Rice’s past shenanigans. Remember, this is the same Susan Rice who lied to America about what happened in Benghazi to help her boss save face with his reelection bid approaching and on the line. This is the same Susan Rice who just recently dared to lecture President Trump about not fudging the facts when speaking to the American people!
Cross-posted at Constitution.com