msn | Monday Bloomberg report alleging that a former top Obama administration official requested the unmasking of U.S. persons tied to the Trump campaign who were swept up in foreign surveillance is not the “smoking gun” that the President’s backers are making it out to be.
According to surveillance and national security experts, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice would be within her rights to make such requests if she was trying to determine the extent of Russia’s interference in the presidential election.
“Part of her job as national security adviser is to pay attention to what foreign governments are doing,” Rebecca Lonergan, a former federal prosecutor who handled foreign surveillance cases, told TPM. “If she’s asking for specific names to be unmasked in order to understand what Russia may be doing to influence the U.S. political system and influence our elections, presumably in a way they thought would benefit them, she’s doing her job.”
Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst, noted on Twitter that it was not “odd or wrong” for the national security adviser to read “a report of foreign officials discussing US persons coming into” the White House. And Susan Hennessey, a fellow in national security governance studies at the Brookings Institution, wrote of the Bloomberg article that “nothing in this story indicates anything improper whatsoever.”