Then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice did at times ask that certain names in intelligence reports be "unmasked" in order to understand the context in which they were mentioned in intelligence reports, a former national security official told CBS News. Investigations on "Russian involvement in our electoral process are very important ... and every American ought to have an interest in those investigations going wherever the evidence indicates they should", she said.
Michael Flynn was forced out as National Security Adviser after it was reported in the press that he had mislead Vice President Mike Pence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about talking to the Russian ambassador, and that those discussions included sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
"Did you know that over a million Americans' phone calls are listened to without a warrant?" he asked Kilmeade.
Ms. Rice didn't deny that she had sought the name of a Trump transition official in intelligence reports, though she said she hadn't done so "for any political purposes".
Bill O'Reilly's show, "The O'Reilly Factor", has lost more than 25 advertisers this week after The Times reported that he and Fox News paid more than $13 million to settle multiple sexual harassment lawsuits against him. "Tell the story of how often Susan Rice, in the first few years on the job, got intelligence reports; how often she did unmasking; who else was being monitored". She explained Tuesday that she was referring to specific intelligence reports. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy. A Rice spokesman told the Times in response they would not "dignify the president's ludicrous charge with a comment". Although there is still no proof that the president was subject to a wiretap or any sort of direct surveillance.
It's hard to imagine FBI Director James Comey or NSA Director Mike Rogers participating with Obama officials in "political" surveillance of the Trump transition, which is the allegation some Republicans are making.
In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Rice asserted that she did not leak Flynn's name, nor participate in a politically motivated campaign to collect information on Trump or members of his team.
As one would expect, Rice did not answer Lake's email requesting a statement.
Rice is facing heat over revelations this week that she requested to unmask the names of Trump associates caught up in incidental surveillance - typically people not under investigation who happen to be in contact with those who are. Rice's requests were documented in executive branch records, as are all requests made for unmasking.
Likely being the operative word. The goal, she said, was "to do our jobs", but "absolutely not for any political objective, to spy, expose, anything".
While the reports cited no supporting evidence, Trump backers pointed to them to support the president's allegations that the Obama administration used USA intelligence bodies to spy on him.
The White House and its allies will try hard for that to be so.
Kellyanne Conway took a lot of heat some weeks back for suggesting that there could be "alternative facts" in political discourse, and no doubt she deserved it. Even Republicans who have been critical of White House efforts to muddy the Russian Federation investigations have said it is imperative to get to the bottom of her handling of Trump-related intelligence.