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10 April 2017, 02:15 | Clarence Schmidt
In an interview with The New York Times, Trump said Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, committed a crime when she asked government analysts to disclose the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports.
But President Trump in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday said he thinks Rice committed a crime.
Lawmakers probing the surveillance of key officials in the Trump campaign and administration say the intelligence agencies now nominally under the president's control are stonewalling efforts to get to the bottom of who revealed names and leaked protected information to the press.
These intelligence reports became the subject of controversy after reports surfaced that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice "unmasked" USA citizens who were swept up in the incidental surveillance.
The White House charges that it was Rice who may have abused her power as President Obama's national security adviser and effectively snooped on Trump's presidential transition.
Rice also denied leaking the information to anyone without the security clearances required to view classified intelligence reports, which would be a crime.
"I leaked nothing, to nobody, and never have and never would", Rice said on MSNBC.
Nunes has apologized for the way he presented his information, but that hasn't stopped Democratic and Republican leaders alike from questioning his ability to oversee a fair investigation of the Russian Federation matter.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) first suggested that he had seen intelligence reports that contained the identities of Trump associates, including some where the names were masked but were easily identifiable.
"I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled", said Mr. Trump.
Those reports, which Nunes revealed in a news conference and were the foundation for a briefing he provided to the president, were uncovered by National Security Council officials working in the White House who, The Washington Post reported, secretly passed them on to Nunes.
Trump himself has faced criticism and lawsuits for sexual harassment, many of them spurred by the disclosure last October of a 2005 tape that included Trump bragging about groping women without their consent.
"From my direct experience dealing at this level, that is never done", said Tony Shaffer, a retired US Army Lt. Col. with experience in intelligence operations.
President Donald Trump one month and one day ago accused former President Barack Obama of committing a felony, wiretapping him in Trump Tower. Senior intelligence agency officials then decide whether that information can be provided without violating the legal guidelines.
The Trump associates, who were incidentally mentioned on intercepted communications during the Obama administration, were not under surveillance themselves, but had been recorded while speaking with foreigners who were under surveillance by the US. "She should not have time to be unmasking individuals having conversations".
As the drip, drip, drip over Obama administration officials unmasking members of the Trump campaign and transition team continue, new details show the information collected wasn't broad in nature.
Neither does House Intelligence Committee Chair David Nunes.
Obama aide denies using intel to spy on Trump advisers
Senior intelligence agency officials then decide whether that information can be provided without violating the legal guidelines . You have to have a reason beyond simple curiosity that is tied to some legitimate national-security or law-enforcement goal ".
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