Rice's name requests may be criminal, Trump says

Former national security adviser Susan Rice committed a "monumental abuse of power" in unmasking the names of American citizens included in intelligence reports a year ago, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said Wednesday.

"The allegation is that somehow the Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes", Rice told MSNBC on Tuesday.

John R. Schindler, a conservative columnist for the New York Observer and a former NSA analyst with deeply placed sources in the intelligence community, writes that "Rice had perfectly legitimate reasons to want to know the full story about those reports", meaning intelligence reports tracking foreign-government officials discussing Trump or talking to Trump associates.

She says the requests were only be made for national security purposes.

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"The intelligence community made the determination whether the identity of that US person could be provided to me", Rice said.

To acknowledge the clear political motive behind those leaks, and behind Rice's "unmasking", is to admit that Team Obama abused intelligence data - and that its media friends were complicit in doing so.

The Trump White House has been particularly incensed that intercepted conversations between Flynn and Russia's ambassador to the USA surfaced in news reports before the inauguration.

The National Security Council (NSC) has reportedly been tasked with looking into the matter. Nunes has provided limited details about the information he obtained, but said there are "dozens of reports" showing that "incidentally collected information about USA citizens involved in the Trump transition" was gathered during the course of "normal foreign surveillance". Just like yesterday, ABC and NBC offered the most biased coverage, going out of their way to attack Trump for his wiretapping claims instead of focusing on Rice's history of lying about the unmasking allegations. Trump would not say if he reviewed new intelligence to support his claim.

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Two congressional committees are also investigating Flynn as part of larger probes into the Kremlin's influence on the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump associates.

Asked directly by Fox News if Rice may have broken a law, Trump did not mince words. The White House fired him in February after concluding that he had not been truthful about those conversations. The president's advisers quickly embraced Nunes' revelations, but did not acknowledge at the time that the congressman had viewed the information at the White House with the help of White House officials. While it was legal for her to do this, it was highly unethical and would be a huge scandal if a Republican senior official sought the names of Democratic political opponents from US intelligence reports.

To be perfectly frank, I believe that Ms. Rice, Barack Obama's former national security advisor, needs more practice. This includes the role he played in the 2012 Central Intelligence Agency talking points on the Benghazi terrorist attacks. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

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