Former national security adviser Susan Rice told House investigators that she internally unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials in order to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, CNN reports.
Last December, the crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, met with three transition team members in Trump Tower: Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser; the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and chief strategist Stephen Bannon, multiple sources told CNN.
The UAE failed to inform the Obama administration that Zayed was coming to the United States, a contravention of typical diplomatic courtesy that left the Obama White House concerned it had been misled
Rice told House Intelligence Committee investigators that she requested to know the names of the Americans mentioned in the classified report of the crown prince’s visit — a practice known as “unmasking” that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say is common.
Rice has been at the center of the controversy over unmasking.
Normally, when government officials receive intelligence reports, the names of American citizens are redacted to protect their privacy. But officials can request that names — listed as “U.S. Person 1,” for example — be unmasked internally in order to give context about the potential value of the intelligence.
Senior officials have the authority to request the unmasking of names if there is a compelling national security reason to do so.
The House panel’s probe has grown to encompass concerns with the practice, which some committee Republicans consider too permissive for senior officials. The Trump administration as well as several Hill Republicans have previously suggested that Rice may have inappropriately sought to reveal the identities of transition team officials.
But several Republican lawmakers who attended the September interview with Rice have said that they have seen no evidence that she acted inappropriately or illegally….
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