White House logs indicate Susan Rice consumed unmasked intel on Trump associates
“Computer logs that former President Obama’s team left behind in the White House indicate his national security adviser Susan Rice accessed numerous intelligence reports during Obama’s last seven months in office that contained National Security Agency intercepts involving Donald Trump and his associates, Circa has learned.
Intelligence sources said the logs discovered by National Security Council staff suggested Rice’s interest in the NSA materials, some of which included unmasked Americans’ identities, appeared to begin last July around the time Trump secured the GOP nomination and accelerated after Trump’s election in November launched a transition that continued through January.
The intelligence reports included some intercepts of Americans talking to foreigners and many more involving foreign leaders talking about the future president, his campaign associates or his transition, the sources said. Most if not all had nothing to do with the Russian election interference scandal, the sources said, speaking only on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the materials.
Ordinarily, such references to Americans would be redacted or minimized by the NSA before being shared with outside intelligence sources, but in these cases, names were sometimes unmasked at the request of Rice or the intelligence reports were specific enough that the American’s identity was easily ascertained, the sources said.
The exact national security justifications for Rice accessing the reports isn’t clear and may require additional documentation that the House and Senate intelligence committees have requested from the NSA, America’s lead agency in spying on foreign powers.
How the information was disseminated beyond Rice will also be a potential focus of congressional oversight, since lawmakers may want to know if it was briefed to Obama or shared with members of her larger circle of advisers, like deputy Ben Rhodes.
Rice has not returned repeated calls for comment from Circa. But in an interview with PBS recently, she said she had no idea what House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes was talking about when he said Obama officials were monitoring Trump associates after the election.
One intelligence professional with detailed knowledge of how the NSA and other intelligence agencies share information with the White House during transitions told Circa that U.S. intelligence reporting on foreign leaders’ perceptions of Trump spiked after his unexpected election win in November, creating a trove of information that could be accessed by the outgoing White House.
The NSA can legally intercept foreigners’ conversations without court permission under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but it cannot target Americans’ conversations overseas. If an American is accidentally intercepted or two foreigners are caught talking about an American, that name is supposed to be redacted in intelligence reports and replaced by a description like “U.S. citizen 1.”
But Circa reported last week that Obama opened the door for his political aides like Rice to more easily gain access to unmasked Americans’ names in NSA intercepts through a series of rule changes beginning in 2011.”
….Continue reading more @ Circa.com
Top White House Official Under Fire Over Denial of Security Clearance
| Free Beacon
“Lawmakers and congressional insiders continue to raise questions about a senior Obama administration official and proponent of its Iran diplomacy following revelations he was denied interim security clearance before being given a senior role in the White House, according to conversations with multiple sources.
The Washington Free Beacon first disclosed last week that Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser who handled the administration’s efforts to mislead the public about the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, is being probed by Congress following disclosures the FBI may have denied him top-level security clearances.
Lawmakers told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration has been obstructing formal efforts to obtain information about why Rhodes was initially denied FBI clearance and how he ultimately received top-secret clearances.”
….Continue reading more @ Free Beacon