Ex-National Security Adviser to the Obama administration, Susan Rice, might find herself in hot water with what Sen. Rand Paul told reporters Monday. Paul said would like to see Rice testify under oath, before Congress, about some of her recent actions. He believes her requests to “unmask” the identities of Trump transition officials collected during standard surveillance activities was perhaps backed by Obama himself.
Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View which reported that Rice made requests to “unmask” the names of Trump transition officials. According to Lake, the intelligence reports had “valuable political information such as whom the Trump team was meeting with, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.”
Paul acknowledged that he was taking his information entirely from what Bloomberg View reported. But, the report was enough for him to deem the alleged unmasking by Susan Rice an “enormous deal.” “I don’t think we should just discount how big a deal it is that Susan Rice was looking at these,” Rand Paul told reporters Monday. “And she needs to be asked, ‘Did President Obama ask her to do this? Was this a directive from President Obama? I think she should testify under oath on this.”
“Is there a possibility that Susan Rice was politically motivated? Let’s ask her why she was opening up all of the conversations with Trump transition figures,” he said.
Paul has believed for a long time that the identities of American citizens have been incidentally collected during routine surveillance of foreign targets. He is using the revelations on Rice for his own gain and efforts to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The current Act allows government intelligence agencies to target foreigners without a warrant. Paul is calling for more restrictions on the unmasking capabilities of the intelligence community.
“The law says you can’t reverse target people, but how would you know that once you get inside the brain and the people that are unmasking people,” Paul said.
“So, what if I decided to unmask and I’m there and I only unmask the conversations of my Democrat opponents — shouldn’t there be more restrictions for unmasking people in the political process?” He continued.
Paul believes protecting the Fourth Amendment rights of American Citizens needs to be better protected. He is calling for only two individuals to be granted the authority to unmask citizens.
“I don’t think you should be allowed to listen to Americans’ conversations without a warrant. They are doing it without a warrant. They are targeting a foreigner, and because they are targeting a foreigner they are gathering all of this information on Americans.” Paul said. “Basically there’s no Fourth Amendment when you use these kinds of things, you go with a lower standard because we’ve got to protect the country and we don’t care about spying on foreigners.”
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