Obama aide denies using intel to spy on Trump advisers

Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Tuesday denied abusing intelligence for political reasons during her time in the White House, after a report revealed that she requested the identities of Trump transition team members in intelligence documents on numerous occasions.

She then went into criticizing President Trump over his tweets that suggested Obama had his "wires tapped" at Trump Tower during the campaign and transition.

And last week, it was a debunked talking point that former Obama administration official Evelyn Farkas admitted spying on the Trump team. She also stated she did not leak Mike Flynn's name, and did not know he was in service to the Turkish government.

"I leaked nothing to nobody", she said.

"This is not anything political as has been alleged", Rice said. "That's absolutely false", she told MSNBC television. "No spreadsheet, nothing of the sort".

In an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports", Rice was asked to address allegations that she had used USA intelligence for political purposes by unmasking certain names of Americans.

But there is no evidence of that, NBC News reported, and Rice denied the allegation in her interview. We only do it to protect the American people, to do our jobs in the national security realm.

Yet, Rice did acknowledge that sometimes after receiving "masked" reports, it would be necessary to find out the identity of the American citizen in order to make the report more useful.

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MITCHELL: At the same time, the president, his associates, their names could have been bandied about by foreign officials, they could have been picked up in incidental collection? He is the author of "Peacekeeping Fiascos of the 1990s: Causes, Solutions and U.S. Interests" (Praeger, May 30, 2002).

RICE: That is exactly right, Andrea.

She did not say whether she had viewed intelligence reports involving Mr Trump and his aides, citing classified information.

This is typically done because the official needs the name to understand the full context of the report.

"There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a USA person was referred to".

"Yes, in general, and any other national security adviser would, I think, as a matter of their ordinary course of business", Comey said. It is necessary for the Secretary of State, or the Secretary of Defense, or the Central Intelligence Agency director to do their jobs. "Nor will we aid and abet the people trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating a diversion".

As we pointed out on Sunday, ferreting out the truth about Russia's meddling in the November election places a heavy and solemn burden on those to whom the duty falls, such as Virginia Sen. And the fact is that this latest unmasking episode is a smokescreen to distract from the broader issue - which is that the President of the United States made a completely unfounded and very serious allegation against his immediate predecessor.

Many on Twitter were quick to note that two people with prominent access to the president were praising the words and actions of a man who had made many claims they found extremely objectionable.

  • Marjorie Miles