Former DNI James Clapper Denies Any Impropriety in ‘Unmasking’ U.S. Citizens During Surveillance

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
WASHINGTON, D.C.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper categorically denied any political or “voyeuristic” motive to the “unmasking” of Trump campaign associates when he addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Monday.

“At no time did I ever submit a request for personal or political purposes or to voyeuristically look at raw intelligence, nor am I aware of any instances of such abuse by anyone else,” Clapper told the Committee in his initial address.

The denial comes after suggestions of potential impropriety were levied against National Security Advisor Susan Rice as reports surfaced alleging that she had requested the identity of American nationals whose communications were intercepted by American intelligence agencies in the scope of the investigation into Russia’s suspected interference into the 2016 elections.

Monday’s hearing was held to discuss the investigation conducted by four U.S. intelligence agencies, and ordered in December by former President Barack Obama, into Russia’s attempts to influence the elections. Clapper testified before the Judiciary Committee along with former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

Clapper was equally unequivocal in his characterization of that investigation’s findings. He told the Committee that Russia engaged in a multi-pronged effort to influence the American presidential election. Notably, he said that the investigation found that Russian agents had, in fact, released information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to “hacktivist” organization WikiLeaks. Clapper explained that Russia collected information certain Republican candidates for office but had not, to his knowledge, released any such information.

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