House Intel Committee Member on Susan Rice Probe: 'This Is Now a Full-Blown Investigation'

Susan Rice / AP
April 13, 2017

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are expanding their investigations into former National Security Adviser Susan Rice's alleged "unmasking" of U.S. persons who were incidentally collected in surveillance of foreign officials.

An unnamed member of the House Intelligence Committee confirmed that Rice is now under "a full-blown investigation," Fox News reported on Wednesday.

"We will be performing an accounting of all unmasking for political purposes focused on the previous White House administration. This is now a full-blown investigation," the committee member said.

While she was national security advisor, Rice reportedly requested the names of US persons associated with the Trump campaign who were incidentally collected while monitoring foreign officials, according to Bloomberg's Eli Lake. Critics concerned about Rice's behavior are focused on whether she attempted to unmask Trump campaign officials for political purposes.

It is likely that President Donald Trump and members of his family were subjects of incidental surveillance, according to Fox, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) reportedly intends to review National Security Agency and White House files to establish if information about presidential candidates or members of Congress were incidentally collected for political purposes.

Senate Intelligence Committee staffers also said they were investigating whether or not presidential candidates were unmasked, along with the roles of those potentially involved with the unmasking, including Rice.

The surveillance reports went to 20 or 30 people in the Obama administration with appropriate clearance, the same sources told Fox. Information about those surveilled would have gone to all of the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan, Rice, and her former deputy Ben Rhodes.

Rice had previously denied having any knowledge of the intelligence community's incidental collection of information connected to the Trump campaign.

The consequences of unmasking have already affected one former Trump administration official. Former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was unmasked when a conversation between him and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was leaked to the media. Leaking unmasked names to the media would constitute criminal behavior.