Deep State Quietly Changed Rules to Make Unmasking Members of Congress Easier

Obama’s Deep State DNI, James Clapper quietly changed the rules in 2013 to make it easier for executive branch officials to unmask members of Congress caught up in intelligence intercepts overseas. 

John Solomon via The Hill:

President Obama’s intelligence chief issued revised procedures in 2013 that made it easier for executive branch officials to “unmask” the names of lawmakers or congressional staffers caught up in intelligence intercepts overseas, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Hill.

Procedures issued by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in March 2013 formally supplanted a 1992 set of rules that made the dissemination of names of intercepted lawmakers or congressional aides an act of last resort.

The new standard allowed for a lawmaker’s or staffer’s name to be unmasked if  “an executive branch recipient of intelligence” believed that learning “the identity of the Member of Congress or the Congressional staff is necessary to understand and assess the associated intelligence and further a lawful activity of the recipient agency,” according to a memo released earlier this month by the DNI’s office with little public fanfare.

Under the previous rules, the CIA chief himself had to give “prior written approval” that the release of the identifying information had met “a legitimate foreign intelligence or counterintelligence need”, The Hill reports:

In the absence of such a finding, executive branch spy agencies had to redact or delete the name of any congressional employee from intelligence reports under a process known in the intelligence world as minimization. The minimization practice exists to protect Americans’ privacy because most spy intercepts overseas are captured without a court-approved warrant required by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

Clapper’s successor as DNI, former Republican Sen. Dan Coats (Ind.), reissued the 2013 congressional unmasking rules as an official directive on June 29, signaling the Trump administration is comfortable with the same procedures.

Yet the changes appear to have had a significant effect on the practice of unmasking.

The frequency of unmasking of Capitol Hill figures has increased in the last few years to as often as one per month, compared to a few per year historically, say sources in the intelligence community.

This has raised concerns in congressional circles.

To add to this Deep State lawlessness, as TGP previously reported, former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, created of a cloud-computing platform in 2013 which made it easier for someone like National Security Advisor Susan Rice to ‘unmask’ Americans without creating a digital paper trail.

The Daily Caller exclusive:

Clapper’s system enabled tens of thousands of government officials to share previously off-limits intelligence information, according to knowledgeable officials who tracked the cloud-computing initiative of the former DNI under President Barack Obama.

Commander Jennifer E. Dyer, a 21-year naval intelligence officer, told TheDCNF that Clapper’s effort dramatically altered the rules that previously barred access to phone records of U.S. citizens unless there was prior approval following rigorous National Security Agency (NSA) review.

“Seventeen different agencies shouldn’t be sifting through Americans’ emails without ever obtaining a warrant,” Gorski said. “The standard for unmasking someone’s identity in these intercepted communications is a low one, and the risk of abuse is real.”

Retired Col. James Waurishuk, who twice served on the National Security Council, told TheDCNF security precautions under the Clapper system were “diluted because more people now had more access.”

Waurishuk believes it will be difficult to trace Rice’s unmasking requests as she sought the information from subordinates. “Susan Rice is not going to be sitting there, reading thousands of intercepts,” he said.

“Because they knew they were doing illegal stuff, the last thing they want to do is have a paper trail.  I think they never believed they were ever going to get caught,” he told the DCNF.

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