Former National Security Advisor (NSA) Susan Rice admitted to lawmakers that she unmasked members of the Trump transition team after previously claiming she “leaked nothing to nobody.”
In March, PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff asked Rice about allegations that officials on Donald Trump’s transition team were caught up in surveillance by U.S. intelligence and “unmasked” by the Obama administration.
Rice replied: “I know nothing about this.”
However, Rice’s previous statements directly contradict what she reportedly told the House Intelligence Committee last week as multiple sources confirmed to CNN that Rice admitted to “unmasking” members of the Trump transition team.
The “unmasking,” reported to have taken place last year, was done to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was in New York City visiting with senior Trump officials.
“... multiple sources have confirmed to CNN that Zayed met at the time with Flynn, Kushner and Bannon,” Manu Raju wrote for CNN. “The three-hour discussion focused on a range of issues, including Iran, Yemen and the Mideast peace process, according to two sources who insisted that opening up a back-channel with Russia was not a topic of discussion.”
While it is not illegal to unmask the identity of American citizens that are “incidentally” caught up in foreign surveillance, leaking their names is.
“Unmasking the name or names of Americans for political purposes would be highly improper; leaking those names to the media would be a crime, according to legal experts,” Fox News reported.
Someone with access to the names of the unmasked senior Trump officials did, however, commit a crime as former NSA Micheal Flynn’s name was illegally leaked to The Washington Post.
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