Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice reportedly tried to learn the identities of officials on President Donald Trump’s transition team whose conversations with foreign officials were incidentally collected during routine intelligence-gathering operations.
The intelligence reports obtained by Rice, who served under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017, “were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials,” Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reported on Monday.
National-security experts say Rice’s reported requests to identify who was speaking with the foreign officials before Trump was inaugurated were neither unusual nor against the law — especially if, as Lake reported, the foreign officials being monitored were discussing “valuable political information” that required the identity of the people they were speaking to, or about, to be uncovered.
“The identities of US persons may be released under two circumstances: 1) the identity is needed to make sense of the intercept; 2) if a crime is involved in the conversation,” said Robert Deitz, a former senior counselor to the CIA director and former general counsel at the National Security Agency.
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