WASHINGTON, D.C. — Susan Rice, the embattled former Obama administration official at the center of the growing unmasking scandal, says she did nothing wrong during her time at the White House and denies that she revealed the names of Trump transition members that were obtained during surveillance of then president-elect Trump.

Speaking publicly on Tuesday for the first time since the scandal broke, Rice, who infamously took a political beating for falsely claiming that an internet video was the cause behind a bloody attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, said she “absolutely” did not order the unmasking of individuals for political purposes, and that she revealed the names of no one.

“The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes, that is absolutely false,” Rice told MSNBC before adding that sometimes such a request would be necessary for an investigation.

sometimes, in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information as to find out who that U.S. official was,” Rice continued.

Despite her claims of any wrongdoing, Republicans have come out on attack, publicly calling for the former diplomat to be compelled to testify on the matter before Congress.

“She needs to testify under oath,” Sen. John Cornyn, (R)-Texas, a member of both the Senate Judiciary and Select Committee on Intelligence, Tweeted on Tuesday.

Appearing on Fox News on Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R)-S.C., who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, said “when it comes to Susan Rice, you need to verify, not trust.”

Sen. Rand Paul, (R)-Ky, echoed Graham’s comments by saying that, at this point, Rice should be under subpoena.

During an appearance Tuesday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), also a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy. Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it.”

Cotton also said there was “no doubt” that Rice should be the subject of a committee hearing and vowed that the Intelligence Committee “ought to review…and will review” both Rice’s alleged actions to see if criminal charges against her should be placed on the table.




WASHINGTON, D.C. — Susan Rice, former national security adviser to former president Barack Obama, is the official who ordered the unmasking of Trump officials during a period of secret surveillance, according to a report published today by Bloomberg (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-03/top-obama-adviser-sought-names-of-trump-associates-in-intel.

According to the report, the unmasked names, which were collected through electronic surveillance of then candidate and President-elect Trump, family members and and people close to the future president, were then sent to high ranking members of the National Security Council, Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan and former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.

Rice, who Newsweek once described as former President Barack Obama’s “right-hand woman,” denied knowledge of the activity last month when asked by PBS’s “NewsHour” were the subject of surveillance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=sH0akjRDJsY&app=desktop).

“I know nothing about this,” Rice said, adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

The report also claims that a high level U.S. official with first hand knowledge of the matter said that the conversations that were recorded by Rice contained, “valuable political information on the Trump transition,” such as the then president-elect’s transition plans and policy views of some of the newly selected members of Trump’s team.

Two independent sources told Bloomberg that the review was conducted by then National Security Council senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

“Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities,” the sources revealed.

The revelation comes in the wake of Evelyn Farkas’ unexpected admission last month that the former Obama deputy secretary of defense “was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill – it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration.”

Since blurting out the statement during a live television broadcast, Farkas now says she was “misquoted” and has recanted her comments.

Meanwhile, Fox News reported on Monday (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/03/susan-rice-requested-to-unmask-names-trump-transition-officials-sources-say.html) that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes found out about the surveillance and unmasking of Trump officials back in January, months before President Trump’s tweet in March in which he claimed that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration.

This is not the first time that Rice’s credibility has come into question.

Under then president Obama’s orders Rice appeared on several major Sunday morning talk shows in September 2012 after the terrorist attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, famously blaming the incident on a spontaneous protest that occurred in response to an Internet video defaming Islam.

Evidence later showed that both Rice and the Obama administration knew that not to be true.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump just got an unexpected boost in credibility from Team Obama.

A high ranking former official of the Obama administration has copped to spying on Donald Trump in the days and weeks before the 45th president was sworn in.

Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense under president Obama, dropped the bombshell during an on-air interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski (http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/democratic-senator-calls-for-trump-s-tax-returns-888470595707).

According to Farkas, she and her colleagues gathered intelligence on Trump and his team to investigate the billionaire business tycoon’s ties to Russia. Farkas further admitted that she and fellow members of the Obama administration took steps to conceal the sources of that intelligence from the incoming administration.

“I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration,” said Farkas. “Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy … that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their … the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.”

The revelation comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to battle over House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ claim last week that surveillance operations incidentally collected Trump team communications as Trump took the reigns at the White House. Democrats have challenged Nunes’ claims and have called on him to recuse himself from Russia matters, something that Nunes (R-CA) has thus far refused to do.

Asked on Tuesday by reporters if he would continue leading the investigation into alleged spying on Trump by the Obama administration, Nunes said, “Why would I not?”

“We’re doing a very thorough job on this investigation,” he added. “Everything is moving forward as is,” he added.

“I’m sure the Democrats do want me to quit,” Nunes later said during an appearance on Fox News, “because they know that I’m quite effective at getting to the bottom of things.”

A spokesman for Barack Obama said the former president denies any wrong doing and that he has no further comment on the matter.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who came forward this week with information that the Obama administration collected and shared information from surveillance of President Trump’s transition team told a waiting throng of reporters that documents he’s been shown “concerned” him.

“There’s some information in those documents that concerned me and I don’t think belonged in there,” Nunes, (R-Calif.), told the press.

While Nunes said it appeared the information obtained on Trump and his associates was collected legally through a FISA order, the real concern, he said, was that the names of some of the people surveiled were unmasked.

“It appears like this was all legal survillance from what I can tell,” he said, but then added: “You have to ask why were names unmasked. Maybe someone has a good reason for it but not from what I’ve been able to read.”

When asked how many individuals names had been unmasked Nunes said that remains to be seen.

“There was additional unmasking that was done in the documents I read the other day. I don’t know who asked for them to be unmasked, i just know there are more,” he said.

Nunes also addressed president Trump’s concerns that Trump Tower had been wiretapped, saying that those allegations appeared unfounded.

“There was no wiretapping of Trump Tower — that didn’t happen,” he said.

Nunes caused an uproar in D.C. on Wednesday when he told reporters that he had been provided with information that seemed to support president Trump’s allegations that he and members of his administration had been surveiled without their knowledge at some point just prior to and after Trump’s election.

Meanwhile, Fox News’ James Rosen reported on Friday that the National Security Agency is expected to produce more documents to the committee on the matter, including what a source described as a potential “smoking gun” to substantiate Trump’s spy claims.

King, a member of the Intelligence Committee, told Ed Henry on “America’s Newsroom” (http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/03/24/its-scandalous-rep-king-says-nunes-had-tell-trump-about-obama-surveillance) that the details emerging could only be described in one word: “scandalous.”

Noting that the intelligence obtained had nothing to do with Russia, a claim highly touted Democrat leaders, King said the fact that names were revealed was a blatant violation of law.

“Much of this information was then unmasked and sent throughout the intelligence community and it looks as if, to me, this is surveillance. … This goes against the law and regulations,” said King.

Additional intelligence is expected to be released by the NSA by Friday.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former president Barack Obama may be looking at some serious jail time, according to famed Watergate whistle blower Bob Woodward.

Woodward, now a columnist for The Washington Post, says the 44th president may be slapped with criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members during surveillance of foreign officials.

Woodward’s comments come on the heels of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., revelations on Wednesday that he had briefed president Trump on new information, unrelated to an investigation into Russian activities, that suggested that Trump and several members of his transition team had their identities “unmasked” after being surveilled by U.S. intelligence officials.

Earlier this month, president Trump had announced in a tweet that he had reason to believe that his home and business had been wiretapped for a period of time surrounding the election on the orders of Barack Obama, a claim that the former president vehemently denied.

During an interview on Fox News, Woodward said that if that allegations regarding the unmasking is true, “it is a gross violation.”

Jail time for the former president could come not so much from the surveillance itself, said Woodward, but from the fallout that comes from the unmasking.

“You can learn all kinds of things from diplomats gossiping, because that’s what occurs. Under the rules, and they are pretty strict, it’s called minimization. You don’t name the American person who is being discussed,” Woodward said.

“The idea that there was intelligence value here is really thin,” Woodward continued. “It’s, again, down the middle, it is not what Trump said, but this could be criminal on the part of people who decided, oh, let’s name these people. Under the rules, that name is supposed to be blanked out,” he added. “And so you’ve got a real serious problem potentially of people in the Obama administration passing around this highly classified gossip.”



WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Donald Trump is reveling in reports that surfaced on Wednesday that seem to validate his claims that he had been spied on during the time of his presidential win. In a now infamous Tweet, the 45th president said his home and business inside New York’s Trump Tower had been wiretapped on the orders of former president Barack Obama.

House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, (R-Calif.), said Wednesday that a source within the intelligence community had indeed confirmed that information on Trump had been “incidentally collected” amid surveillance of the Trump transition team and Russian targets. According to Nunes, the information on Trump was collected courtesy a FISA warrant.

“Wow … so that means I’m right,” Trump told Time magazine (http://time.com/4710456/donald-trump-time-interview-truth-falsehood/) after reading a summary of Nunes’ press conference.

What is most concerning, said Trump, is the fact that certain members of his team were identified in the intelligence reports — something which rarely occurs.

“The real story here is, who released General Flynn’s name? Who released, who released my conversations with Australia, and who released my conversation with Mexico? That’s the story. These leakers, they are disgusting. These are horrible people.”

“And these people were here in the Obama years, because he had plenty of leakers, also,” he added.

The president went on to say that although he feels vindicated to a certain extent by the recent revelations, he’s certain that details will continue to emerge.

“A lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens,” Trump said. “Look, I predicted a lot of things that took a little bit of time.”

“I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right,” he added. “When everyone said I wasn’t going to win the election, I said, ‘Well, I think I would.’…I said, ‘No, Brexit is going to happen,’ and everybody laughed. And Brexit happened. Many, many things. They turn out to be right. And now, today, Devin Nunes just had a news conference.”



WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Donald Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped as part of a surveillance effort by the government just received some unexpected backing courtesy Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Members of the intelligence community “incidentally collected” communications from the Trump transition team during legal surveillance operations of foreign targets, Nunes, chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee, announced on Wednesday.

Nunes said the effort produced “dozens” of reports which ultimately unmasked several individuals’ identities and were “widely disseminated.”

“I recently confirmed on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected intelligence,” Nunes said.

Nunes’ revelations support, at least in part, the president’s claims that he had been the subject of “wiretapping” at some point surrounding the election, a claim for which Democrats have widely criticized the president.

The White House was quick to respond upon hearing the news.

“There’s a lot of questions that I think his statement raises, and that I hope we can get to the bottom of,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said of the bombshell.

In another startling revelation, Nunes says the FBI has been less than cooperative in the investigation into the NSA’s surveillance of the Trump.

“We don’t actually know yet officially what happened to General Flynn,” Nunes said of how communications from former national security advisor Michael Flynn were leaked to the press. “We just know that his name leaked out but we don’t know how it was picked up yet. That was one of the things that we asked for in the March 15th letter, was for the NSA, CIA, and FBI to get us all the unmasking that was done.”

“And I’ll tell you, NSA is being cooperative,” Nunes continued, “but so far the FBI has not told us whether or not they’re going to respond to our March 15th letter which is now a couple of weeks old.”

When asked whether or not he had cause to believe that former president Barack Obama was behind the order to surveil Trump Nunes said that is a possibility he “cannot rule out”.



NEW YORK, N.Y. — Conservative commentator and former Superior Court judge Andrew Napolitano has been banned indefinitely from Fox News amid his allegations that a British intelligence agency had wiretapped Trump Tower, according to a report published on Tuesday by the L.A. Times (http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-napolitano-fox-news-20170320-story.html) .

Napolitano, who appeared as a regular on the Fox News network as a legal and political analyst, claimed the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spied on Trump at former President Barack Obama‘s behest during an appearance on the network last week.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer quoted Napolitano’s comments last week while defending the president’s claims that Barack Obama had ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped last fall, just before the election.

“Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, ‘Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,’” Spicer said during a daily press briefing.“’He didn’t use the [National Security Agency], he didn’t use the CIA … he used GCHQ.’”

In a statement, the GCHQ quickly denied Napolitano’s claim that it helped surveil Trump under Obama’s orders in 2016.

“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense,” said a spokesman for the agency.

On March 4, president Trump first raised the allegations against Obama via a tweet in which he claimed the 44th president had tapped Trump tower in an attempt at political gain.

“Nothing found,” Trump tweeted. “This is McCarthyism!”

Trump, too, cited Napolitano’s comments when asked about the matter on Friday during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We said nothing,” Trump said of Napolitano’s claim. “I didn’t make an opinion on it. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television,” Trump said.

“That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox [News]. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”

In a statement read on the Fox program “MediaBuzz” on Sunday, Napolitano defended his comments. The former judge said he “reported what the sources told me, reported it accurately and I do believe the substance of what they told me.”

A spokesperson for Fox News declined to comment on this story.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — FBI director James Comey testified on Monday before the House Senate Intelligence Committee where he said his agency has found no proof to back up president Donald Trumps accusations of wiretapping by the former Obama administration.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ said Comey of tweets made two weeks ago by president Trump that accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of ordering wiretaps of Trump Tower just prior to Trump’s win last November. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,’’ and agents found nothing to support those claims, he said.

Under often intense questioning, Comey said a president has no authority to order such surveillance.

In this, the committee’s first public hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, Comey also confirmed for the first time that the bureau is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the presidential race, including possible “links” to the Trump team.

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey said. “That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, however, seemed less than convinced by Comey’s testimony that his agency found no proof to back up Trump’s claims of wiretapping. He also pressed Comey to name the chief suspects in the leaks of classified intelligence information, an attempt that Comey thwarted.

In one particularly tense exchange, Gowdy, himself a former federal prosecutor, cited his own short list of suspects, asking Comey whether former CIA Director John Brennan, Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper or ex-White House adviser Ben Rhodes could have known Flynn was recorded by phone conversing with a Russian ambassador.

Comey answered that all but Rhodes would have had access to that information, the disclosing of which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.

When questioned by Gowdy, Comey refused to confirm or deny whether or not the FBI is investigating the leak.

“I can’t say because I don’t want to confirm that that was classified information,” said Comey, who had earlier admitted that the bureau is investigating claims of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“But you confirmed the investigation into the Trump camp Russia ties,” Gowdy pushed. “And aren’t these leaks a matter of life and death?”

“Leaks are terrible and taken very seriously,” Comey replied before saying “there’s a whole lot of wrong information” in newspapers,  and adding that he did not want to “compound the offense that’s committed.”

Gowdy then took the opportunity to pounce.

“In the universe of possible motives of felonious dissemination of classified material, we could rule out wanting to help the intelligence communities and the law enforcement communities those are two motives that are gone now. That leaves more nefarious motives,” Gowdy said.

Throughout the remainder of his testimony Comey was careful to avoid confirming specific details on what the bureau’s investigation into alleged Russian interference had uncovered on the grounds that the probe is “open” and “ongoing.”



WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Intelligence Committee leaders on Thursday released a joint statement in which they said they have no reason to believe that President Donald Trump’s claims of wiretapping are true.

The statement, which was released on Thursday, reads as follows:

“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”

The statement, signed by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia, was issued in response to allegations by president Donald Trump that offices at Trump Tower New York were wiretapped on orders of the DNC.

The statement comes just hours after House Speaker Paul Ryan said “no such wiretap existed.”

On March 4, Trump accused his predecessor, former President Barack Obama of “wiretapping” his residence and business location in New York City in an attempt to obtain information he could use to discredit Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, an allegation that Barack Obama publicly denied. This week president Trump attempted to clarify those remarks.

“When I say wiretapping, those words were in quotes,” Trump told Fox News Wednesday. “That really covers — because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff — but that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing.”