"Unmasking" private US citizens to make their names appear on intelligence reports is not illegal when tied to a legitimate investigation, but civil libertarians warn the process could be used to skirt regulations that prevent the federal government from spying on Americans.
Senior US officials later said that Rice's comments were based on an intelligence assessment that was eventually updated to reflect a preliminary view that demonstrators were not the culprits. Even Nunes, who has emerged as a defender of the president's concerns about having been improperly surveilled, has publicly stated on more than one occasion that the targeted surveillance and the incidental collection appear to have been legally conducted.
In its closing days, the Obama Administration scrambled to preserve as much intelligence as it could about Russian Federation and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
"If I saw an intelligence report that looked potentially significant ..."
(Paul) "I see no legitimate reason for her to be searching a database and unmasking people".
She said she was "surprised" and "shocked" by Trump's March tweet that the Trump Tower was "wiretapped" by the Obama Administration, saying the claim was untrue and that making it was "not typical of the way presidents treat their predecessors". In order to protect the privacy rights of those US persons, the government has imposed procedures for "minimizing" or "masking" those persons' identities.
Rice was routinely briefed on intelligence that was collected and then deemed relevant by USA spy agencies.
The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group published a report Monday quoting former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, while a few other media outlets cited "sources".
Rice's interview came amid a growing controversy that the Obama administration abused US intelligence to spy on the Trump campaign and leak intelligence to the press to hurt Trump.
As Obama's national security adviser, Rice said her job was to protect the American people and in order to do that, she said she received a compilation of intelligence reports every morning from the intelligence community to provide her team with the best information about what was going on around the world. Rice confirmed that she requested the demasking of Americans while she was National Security Adviser.
"The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes".
From nearly the outset of the interview, Rice did not make an effort to deny that she was involved in requests to unmask the identities of Americans inadvertently caught up in intelligence signals intercepts.
"Let me give you just a hypothetical example", Rice said. "Nor will we aid and abet the people trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating a diversion". For us not to try to understand it would be dereliction of duty.
This is the same Susan Rice who also claimed in 2014 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction" and that he "wasn't simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield".