Following Monday morning’s bombshell report from Eli Lake at Bloomberg that Obama national security advisor Susan Rice requested unmasked raw intelligence information about members of the Trump campaign and transition team, Fox News’ Adam Housely reports that top members of the Obama administration saw Rice’s requested information.
— AG Jeff Sessions (@USAGSessions) April 3, 2017
According to Housely, we know that there was incidental collection of information on Trump and his team for “up to a year” before the inauguration. “That information was disseminated…through NSA channels. It’s unprecedented, I’m told, the way this was done,” Housely explained. He added, “What I’m told is that when these reports came out, names were there, and that’s basically unprecedented….This unmasked information, these names of Americans who had done nothing wrong, was disseminated to all of NSC, some at DOD…Rice knew about this possibly as well.” Housely mentioned former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
This widens the circle of people who had access to classified intelligence that had been unmasked, reportedly at Rice’s behest – and includes a large swath of the top of the Obama administration intelligence apparatus. Unmasking American citizens by national security officials isn’t itself illegal – but leaking it to the press certainly is. And we now know that at the very least, the Obama administration was suspicious that Trump was involved in nefarious activity, even though we still have not a shred of evidence that such activity took place.
So what we have is a partisan use of power, which while not illegal, certainly made it easier for laws to be broken to target the Trump Team.