As the drip, drip, drip over Obama administration officials unmasking members of the Trump campaign and transition team continue, new details show the information collected wasn't broad in nature. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo responded to the story with the following: "All right, President Trump, right-wing media types [are] peddling a fake scandal". Even some very smart colleagues of mine dismissed Trump's allegations, arguing that no one in Washington found them believable.
"I think what happened here is you had very high people at the top who did the unmasking", McCarthy said.
"I think it's going to be the biggest story", Trump told the New York Times in an interview at the White House. Cernovich's post was amplified by fringe "alt-right" outlets, conservative media, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, and the president's son Donald Trump Jr. Weeks after that press conference, only Nunes' Democratic counterpart, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, has seen those documents and they have still not been shared with the full committee.
But determining the identities of individuals obscured in intelligence reports is kosher, and frequently done for national security reasons. It's such an affront, what took place. One person was Michael Flynn, who served briefly as Trump's national security adviser until he was sacked for misleading other administration officials about the nature of conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. However, that was an expectation that any rational person would already have had. Because of this, criminal sanctions can be imposed on a government official who engages "in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized" by statutes and regulations created to implement those statutes. Here is the back story. "Let's say there was a conversation between two foreigners, about a conversation they were having with an American, who was proposing to sell them high-tech bomb making equipment". Her job. Now, if she were a bad person, up to no good, trying to ruin Donald Trump, you know what she would have done, what she could have done? They are not based on suspicion. They permit the NSA to search where it wishes - for example, in certain ZIP codes, area codes and service provider customer lists - and retain whatever it finds.
If so, then she may have violated US law.
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That massive amount of raw data is stored digitally in NSA facilities in Maryland and in Utah, and it is available for examination by select people. Rice's official role would have given her the ability to make those requests for national security purposes.
Over the past few days, it was revealed that former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice took deliberate steps to unmask members of the Trump campaign swept up in incidental intelligence collection operations during the course of their conversations with targets of US collection. Rice has admitted this. One name unmasked in intelligence reports was Michael Flynn, who resigned after it was revealed that he mischaracterized to Vice President Mike Pence conversations he had with the Russian ambassador.
"It's not unusual at all", said Joshua Rovner, chair of global politics and national security at Southern Methodist University and author of Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence. It is never lawful to leak publicly. The use of intelligence data for political purposes is a felony. Someone unmasked Lt. Gen. Flynn and most likely President Trump. This is what got her in trouble - and earned her Pinocchios - when she famously insisted in 2012 that the Benghazi attacks were not planned in advance, even as the Libyan president appeared on the same Sunday programs to say, "This was preplanned, predetermined". Rice's alleged behavior may have been intentional. There were senators and congressmen talking to Netanyahu about a year or so ago and the White House is listening in on these too. No matter how much we might prefer blissful ignorance, there are no facts too good to check.
"Our conspiracy theory president is at it again", CNN's Brian Stelter said the day of the tweet.