According to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice asked U.S. intelligence agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president.
On Monday, diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group, “What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals … The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with. In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”
DiGenova’s report was confirmed by other official sources, according to the Daily Caller.
According to Fox News, the unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director. Fox also reported that her deputy Ben Rhodes was part of the effort.
Col. (Ret.) James Waurishuk, the former deputy director for intelligence at the U.S. Central Command, told The Daily Caller News Foundation:
The surveillance initially is the responsibility of the National Security Agency. They have to abide by this guidance when one of the other agencies says, “we’re looking at this particular person which we would like to unmask.” The lawyers and counsel at the NSA surely would be talking to the lawyers and members of counsel at CIA, or at the National Security Council or at the Director of National Intelligence or at the FBI. It’s unbelievable of the level and degree of the administration to look for information on Donald Trump and his associates, his campaign team and his transition team. This is really, really serious stuff.
Michael Doran, former NSC senior director, added, “somebody blew a hole in the wall between national security secrets and partisan politics.” This “was a stream of information that was supposed to be hermetically sealed from politics and the Obama administration found a way to blow a hole in that wall.”
Doran called the actions “a leaking of signal intelligence. That’s a felony. And you can get 10 years for that. It is a tremendous abuse of the system. We’re not supposed to be monitoring American citizens. Bigger than the crime, is the breach of public trust.”
U.S. law does not permit surveillance of U.S. persons without a warrant; even if a name surfaces in authorized surveillance of a foreign person, it is “masked.” If a U.S. official is briefed by intelligence officials and determines that a certain communication deals with sensitive security or foreign policy matters, the official can ask the intelligence briefer to “unmask” that person.