Circa News reported Monday that White House staffers found logs that document and date stamp President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice accessing intelligence reports that included associates of the Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign:
Intelligence sources said the logs discovered by National Security Council staff suggested Rice’s interest in the NSA materials, some of which included unmasked Americans’ identities, appeared to begin last July around the time Trump secured the GOP nomination and accelerated after Trump’s election in November launched a transition that continued through January.
The intelligence reports included some intercepts of Americans talking to foreigners and many more involving foreign leaders talking about the future president, his campaign associates or his transition, the sources said. Most if not all had nothing to do with the Russian election interference scandal, the sources said, speaking only on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the materials.
When intelligence or law enforcement agencies accidentally gather information related to American citizens, outside their legally sanctioned collection mission, the data appears in reports with simple labels, such as American 1 or American 2. However, when the reports were circulated inside the Obama administration, the actual names were used, or unmasked, or labelled in a way that made the speaker’s identity obvious.
The report written by Sara Carter and John Solomon also quotes an intelligence source, who said it is the common practice to step up surveillance of foreign governments after an election and that after Trump’s surprise victory Nov. 8 this ramped up intelligence gathering provided more opportunities for incidental collection of Trump associates, as the transition team reached out to foreign governments to prepare for the new administration.