Cillizza: Trump just keeps creating smokescreens to mask his Russian Federation problem

Is this some kook sitting in his living room communicating via the internet offering to sell something he doesn't have, or is this a serious person, or company, or entity, with the ability to provide that technology, perhaps to an adversary? Name not provided, just a US person.

The bar is high too because there has to be a legitimate intelligence reason to justify identifying the person or persons.

The Obama administration hasn't denied that Rice requested the unmasking of identities in an intelligence report that came from eavesdropping on foreign parties.

Following her appointment as national security adviser, Rice created some waves in a 2014 interview where she appeared to offer pity for accused Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, who had just been released to the US.

Ms Rice also rejected claims that she leaked information to United States media.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation, that Rice should "testify under oath" for her involvement in trying to exposing Trump associates, as their names appeared in raw intelligence reports collected by USA intelligence operations.

This is the same Susan Rice who told bald faced lies for days about the Benghazi attack that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

"Well, I'm not going to - that's a nice backdoor into a line of questioning". I can't describe any particular report I saw, and by the way I have no idea what reports allegedly are being described by those who are putting out this story.

"What I've read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don't know that it's right and I don't know if the American people would be comfortable with what I've read", Nunes told reporters a few weeks ago.

Imagine how it would have gone over if another Rice - Bush National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice - had asked for the unmasking of Obama transition officials.

The White House has tried to use the allegations of politically-motivated spying to shift focus away from the FBI and congressional investigations into possible Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation.

If, on the other hand, Ms Rice widely disseminated information about USA citizens or leaked it to the press, as some Republican critics allege and she adamantly denies, then the picture grows much darker.

"The notion that some people are trying to suggest, is that by asking for the identity of a person is leaking it, is unequivocally false", Rice added. "There's no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking".

If only to recap what the public has learned over the past month, a consensus of sorts has emerged that during the final months of the Obama administration, Trump and/or his associates were caught up in "incidental collection" tied to surveillance of foreign nationals.

In 2008, she was national security and foreign relations adviser for Obama's first presidential campaign. "Our committee routinely reviews whether our intelligence agencies are properly masking names and unmasking them as appropriate".

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