Pence on Rice's 'unmasking' requests: Americans 'have a right to know'

Posted April 10, 2017

But President Trump in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday said he thinks Rice committed a crime.

Asked if she sought the names of people or unmasked people involved in the Trump transition in order to spy on them or expose them, Rice said, "Absolutely not for any political purposes - to spy, expose, anything".

This past weekend, Bloomberg View reported that Rice's covert spying activities were discovered by the National Security Council's senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick while he was conducting a review on the "unmasking" of US individuals who are monitored incidentally.

Trump and his allies have focused on unsubstantiated reports that Rice, who served as Obama's national security adviser, disclosed the names of Trump aides swept up in US surveillance of foreign targets.

While conducting this review, Cohen-Watnick found that Rice had made an unusual amount of unmasking requests for individuals related to the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team.

In late March, Rice said publicly that she knew "nothing" of President Trump's claims that he was wiretapped.

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Rice said through a spokeswoman that she would not dignify "the president's ludicrous charge with a comment".

Rice denied that she had leaked details about Flynn's call, saying, "I leaked nothing to nobody".

"I believe if there is any truth at all to these allegations, or any substance to them at all then Susan Rice will have to testify before the Intelligence Committee in the House and the Senate...."

"I think it's going to be the biggest story", Trump said. It's the policy. When anyone's name appears unless there's an intelligence value to it, the name has to be blacked out and masked. The rules specify that in most cases a "generic term", such as "U.S. Person 1" is used, instead of the actual name.

At the same time, he also praised Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, whose show The O'Reilly Factor has been shedding advertisers this week after a Times report revealed he or the company had made payments to five women who had accused him of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.

Neither does House Intelligence Committee Chair David Nunes.

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"I think it's going to be the biggest story", Mr. Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office, declining repeated requests for evidence for his allegations or the names of other Obama administration officials.

It's important to note that Rice wasn't an intelligence official or analyst.

Rice has said that the pace of intelligence reports on Russian meddling increased beginning in the summer of 2016.

Bloomberg reporter Eli Lake confirmed this in a bombshell April 3 report in which he said the demasked reports "contained valuable political information on the Trump transition".

Now, in a friendly interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, she denies unmasking anyone's identity "for any political purposes" - which basically confirms that her claim to know nothing about unmasking was far from true. The Trump campaign did all of this after the media and the USA government had accused Russian Federation of hacking the Democrats. And in the Senate, both Warner and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina said they thought it was appropriate.

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