Susan Rice Was Collecting Salacious, Embarrassing, Potentially Harmful Personal Information On Presidential Candidates
The House and Senate intelligence committees are expanding their investigation into the “unmasking” controversy to examine whether other candidates or lawmakers beyond President Trump’s associates were affected.
Until now, the investigation focused on how the identities and communications of Trump transition members were collected by U.S. intelligence agencies under orders from President Obama and then revealed to, and disseminated among, high-ranking members of the Obama administration and politically-infiltrated intelligence agencies.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., plans to audit and compare files from the National Security Agency and White House to determine whether identities and conversations of presidential candidates — and which members of Congress — were intentionally swept up during NSA surveillance. He also plans to review whether Obama’s National Security Council and White House counsel collected and distributed the intelligence to harm presidential candidates and/or their staffs reputations.
“We will be performing an accounting of all unmasking for political purposes focused on the previous White House administration,” a member of the committee told a local news source. “This is now a full-blown investigation.”
Staffers on the Senate committee said they also have expanded their investigation into whether presidential candidates were unmasked and information was misused — and what role former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, among others, played following reports that she requested Trump-affiliated names be unmasked.
For a private U.S. citizen to be “unmasked,” or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare and only done if it has some foreign intelligence value. The American citizen is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report. However in this case it appears Obama ordered secret surveillance on all his political opponents.
The intelligence reports that Rice and others in the administration assembled are similar to what a private investigator would piece together, congressional and U.S. intelligence sources said. In all cases, rather than documenting foreign intelligence, the files included salacious personal information that, if released, could be embarrassing or harmful to the person’s reputation, U.S. intelligence and House Intelligence Committee sources said.
These reports were then disseminated to about 20 to 30 of Obamas’ closest allies who had classified clearance in the Obama administration hierarchy, these sources said.
Donald Trump, members of his family, and members of his campaign and transition teams, were subjects of “electronic surveillance” by U.S. intelligence agencies.
The names were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan — as well as Rice and her former deputy Ben Rhodes, and then to the Media even though the names were supposed to be reported only to the initial requester—which constitutes criminal behavior
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial national security adviser, is one known example of a Trump campaign official whose name was unmasked from an intelligence report gathered by the Obama administration and leaked to the press. While Rice hasn’t yet admitted whether she unmasked Flynn, the leak of his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak where he discussed U.S. sanctions led Flynn to resign three weeks into his term.
Nunes announced on March 22 that he’d viewed intelligence reports that contained surveillance on members of the Trump family, Trump supporters and his transition team.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page also was monitored by the FBI after the agency obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant.