Speed Reads


Republicans and Democrats agree Susan Rice did nothing wrong with surveillance unmasking

Amazingly, Democrats and Republicans in Washington have finally agreed on something: Susan Rice didn't do anything wrong when it came to dealing with surveillance material.

When the National Security Agency or another intelligence agency circulates transcripts of U.S. surveillance of foreign targets, if there are any Americans identified, their names are usually redacted; if their identities are vital to deciphering the intelligence, they can be "unmasked." Rice, the former national security adviser, was accused of wrongdoing by President Trump, who told The New York Times he believed she broke the law by asking for the names of his aides mentioned in the transcripts. House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) also announced he thought that some of Trump's aides were improperly unmasked. Rice denied doing anything outside of the law.

GOP and Democratic congressional aides who have seen the flagged material stand by Rice, with one official briefed on the matter telling NBC News that Rice didn't do anything inappropriate. "I saw no evidence of any wrongdoing," said the official, who asked to remain anonymous. "It was all completely normal." Intelligence officials told NBC News any unmasking request by Rice would have been made to the FBI director or the NSA director, and they would have made the final decision. They also said it is completely appropriate and commonplace for the national security adviser to ask for the names of Americans who appear in intelligence reports.