House Intel Committee Member On Susan Rice Probe: “This Is Now A Full-Blown Investigation”
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are expanding their investigations into former National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s alleged “unmasking” of U.S. persons who were incidentally collected in surveillance of foreign officials.
An unnamed member of the House Intelligence Committee confirmed that Rice is now under “a full-blown investigation,” Fox News reported on Wednesday.
“We will be performing an accounting of all unmasking for political purposes focused on the previous White House administration. This is now a full-blown investigation,” the committee member said.
While she was national security advisor, Rice reportedly requested the names of US persons associated with the Trump campaign who were incidentally collected while monitoring foreign officials, according to Bloomberg‘s Eli Lake. Critics concerned about Rice’s behavior are focused on whether she attempted to unmask Trump campaign officials for political purposes.
It is likely that President Donald Trump and members of his family were subjects of incidental surveillance, according to Fox, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) reportedly intends to review National Security Agency and White House files to establish if information about presidential candidates or members of Congress were incidentally collected for political purposes.
Senate Intelligence Committee staffers also said they were investigating whether or not presidential candidates were unmasked, along with the roles of those potentially involved with the unmasking, including Rice.
The surveillance reports went to 20 or 30 people in the Obama administration with appropriate clearance, the same sources told Fox. Information about those surveilled would have gone to all of the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan, Rice, and her former deputy Ben Rhodes.
Rice had previously denied having any knowledge of the intelligence community’s incidental collection of information connected to the Trump campaign. Keep reading
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The House and Senate intelligence committees are expanding their investigation into the so-called “unmasking” controversy, Fox News has learned, 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 and then revealed to, and disseminated among, high-ranking members of the Obama administration.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., now plans to audit files from the National Security Agency and White House to determine whether identities and conversations of presidential candidates — or members of Congress — also were swept up during NSA surveillance of foreign leaders. He also plans to review whether Obama’s National Security Council and White House counsel collected and distributed the intelligence for reasons unrelated to foreign intelligence.
“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 Fox News. “This is now a full-blown investigation.”
Staffers on the Senate committee told Fox News 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 typically only done if it has some foreign intelligence value. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.
The intelligence reports that Rice and others in the administration reportedly assembled are similar to what a private investigator might piece together, congressional and U.S. intelligence sources said. In some 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. Keep reading