Susan Rice, the former national security adviser, informed House investigators that she revealed the identities of Trump officials to decipher what brought the UAE prince in New York late last year.
On December 2016, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the crown prince of United Arab Emirates was with three transition group members in Trump Tower. The three transition team members were the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Stephen Bannon, the chief strategist, as gathered by CNN.
The UAE didn’t inform the Obama-led administration of Zayad’s coming, which contravenes the diplomatic courtesy, causing the Obama led White House to believe it has been misguided.
Rice informed the House Intelligence Committee investigators that asked to know the American called in the classified report of the prince’s visit, which is widely known as ‘Unmasking’ and the lawmakers agree that such action is typical.
Unmasking is not common
Ordinarily, the names of American citizens are not exposed whenever government officials get intelligence reports, and this is done to protect privacy. However, officials have the right to seek the internal unmasking of names to give context about intelligence value.
Senior officials can also ask for the unmasking of names if there be a serious national security reason that demands that.
Some committee Republicans see the unmasking power of senior officials as too permissive, causing the panel’s probe to reach out with such practices. Many Hill Republicans and Trump government have suggested initially that Rice may have asked for the unmasking of the transition team in an inappropriate manner. However, many Republicans that went for the interview on September said Rice didn’t act illegally.
The meeting held with the crown prince has shown more light on Capitol Hill, which came before a distinct effort by UAE to support back-channel communication between incoming Trump White House and Russia.
The meeting was held in Seychelles islands and reported by The Washington Post in April. It was reported to be part of the UAE’s effort to urge Russia to reduce its Iran relationship.
According to CNN, it’s not clear which officials Rice discussed with during the House Intelligence investigators’ interview earlier this month, but two other sources have it that the session focused on issues relating to the Mideast.
The two other sources informed CNN that creating a back channel with Russia was not part of the discussion during the meeting held on December. A senior Middle East official said to CNN that the meeting focused on ascertaining the view of the Trump’s team about the region, and voicing out the UAE’s take on the region and the role U.S. should play.