No sign probes into Russia, Trump campaign will die down

It was revealed recently that during her time as government official, Rice requested names in intelligence documents detailing communications of the Trump transition team to be "unmasked".

Facing his biggest crisis since taking office, Trump says "something should happen" with President Bashar al-Assad after a deadly poison gas attack in Syria, as the Pentagon and the White House study military options.

This back-and-forth history is familiar by now.

The FBI confirmed in March that it was probing whether Mr Trump campaign aides had worked with the Russian effort to influence the election. After reports circulated Rice was behind the unmasking, Sciutto claimed sources close to Rice told him, "The idea that Ambassador Rice improperly sought the identities of Americans is false". Maybe these agents were not tapping their telephones, and maybe they were not tapping the soon-to-be president-elect's calls. If a senior official gives what appears to be a national security reason, demasking requests are nearly always approved. People captured "incidentally" have their names blacked out in deference to their privacy, such as it remains.

"Former national security advisor Susan Rice requested the identities of US persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign..." The propensity to shift goal posts is par for the course - pun very much intended - for a president who seems to spend more time golfing and relying on speculative media pundits than understanding his own agencies' rules and procedures. My guess is that he will not be happy to hear Fox News' findings that various agents in our intelligence community may have been listening in on his team's telephone calls. Rice's official role would have given her the ability to make those requests for national security purposes.

Were they talking cabbage?

On top of this subterfuge is the below-the-radar-screen behavior of the NSA, which looks to a Reagan-era executive order to justify its capture in real time of every telephone conversation and every computer keystroke of everyone in the USA since 2005. Wouldn't we like to know? If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.

At the end of the Obama administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NSA were sifting through intelligence reports on Russian hacking.

The Republican head of a congressional inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election says he will temporarily step aside from the probe because he is under investigation for disclosing classified information. (And, perhaps, his Magic 8-Ball.) If there's nothing to see here, why the constant shifting of public attention from the grizzly bear to the kid with a slingshot?

The president continues to be dogged by a federal investigation into whether his associates cooperated with Russian Federation in its efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. Think about it, if a USA senator is talking to the ambassador to Jordan or to Israel, should the executive branch, the president, be allowed to listen to private conversations between Senators and heads of state? Hayden said that "is the equivalent of trying to criminalize intelligence judgment".

Questioned by reporters, Rice dodged the question. "Congrats to @cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story", he tweeted like-father-like-son-ly. Yet if the allegations against Rice are true, her behavior was arguably worse. After ruling out USA enforcement agencies, the heads of whom have denied any wiretapping, Spicer said Obama used GCHQ to do his bidding instead.

  • Zachary Reyes