What Could Be Next for Susan Rice in 'Unmasking' Controversy

It was reported this week that Rice, in her role as national security adviser, asked intelligence agencies to "unmask" the names of Trump associates mentioned in reports of surveillance activities.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly on Thursday that he and his committee would pursue the evidence in their investigation wherever it leads, but that so far nothing substantiates the White House's Rice storyline.

Rice said Tuesday that any allegations that she improperly sought the names of Trump associates and leaked intelligence information was "absolutely false".

US intelligence sources have told Fox News that Rice, President Obama's national security adviser, is responsible for unmasking at least some of Trump team named in surveillance reports.

Rice reportedly asked to unmask the identities of people affiliated with the Trump campaign and transition "on dozens of occasions", according to the Bloomberg report.

Rice has come under fire this week amid reports that she was responsible for the unmasking of the identities of Trump associates. "Nothing of the sort occurred", Rice said on PBS "NewsHour" in her first interview since leaving her White House job.

"I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled", Trump told the Times in an Oval Office interview. Though public figures like Rice face a higher standard in bringing such claims, Culhane said she could contend Trump demonstrated a "reckless disregard" for the truth.

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Speaking to The New York Times Wednesday, Trump said, "I think it's going to be the biggest story". And Republicans can talk in open hearings, and to reporters, about the Rice-unmasking narrative - not Russian cyberattacks or potential collusion with Trump aides.

I agree with Rand Paul who said, "We need to protect American privacy".

Rice may now face an inquiry by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Typically, when Americans are swept up in foreign surveillance, they are referred to as something like "Person One", hiding their names.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are now investigating allegations the Obama administration spied on Trump associates - and possibly Trump himself - for as long as the year preceding his inauguration.

The White House never explained exactly why Trump tweeted what he did, but right-leaning news reports making that claim were brought to Trump's attention at the time, as previously reported by ABC News.

President Trump on Wednesday claimed that he believes Rice may have committed a crime by requesting the identities of Trump associates who were mentioned in USA surveillance, though he did not provide proof. She called the unmasking process routine and said she only did it when it pertained to matters of national security.

It's important to note that Rice wasn't an intelligence official or analyst. Nunes has said he will not step down from his position as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

  • Sonia Alvarado