by WorldTribune Staff, January 10, 2018
President Donald Trump on Jan. 9 instructed his director of national intelligence to establish rules for the “unmasking” of Americans, a report said.
According to a White House memo obtained by national security correspondent Sara Carter, the president has given DNI Dan Coats 30 days to “issue and release publicly a policy requiring that each element of the Intelligence Community (IC) develop and maintain procedures for responding to requests from Federal, State, local, tribal, or territorial government officials for non-public identity information concerning known unconsenting United States persons that was originally omitted from disseminated intelligence reports.”
Coats is tasked with developing procedures with all 16 intelligence agencies and law enforcement “for the collection, retention, and dissemination of information concerning United States persons established pursuant to section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981 (United States Intelligence Activities), as amended,” the memo says.
The memo said Coats must also include procedures for the “standard minimization procedures established pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.); and… any other procedures for the collection, retention, or dissemination of information concerning United States persons required by law.”
The memo goes on to state that Coats “may not modify or otherwise supersede the issued guidance, or any successor guidance, absent notification to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, of the proposed modifications or new guidance and the passage of 30 days following such notification.”
U.S. Intelligence and law enforcement officials told Carter in a story published in December, that a controversial NSA surveillance program used to monitor foreigners was also being used by the FBI as a “backdoor” to gain warrantless access to American communications.
“The whistleblowers, who recently disclosed the program’s process to Congressional oversight committees, said they were concerned over the warrantless surveillance program when it was disclosed earlier this year that Obama officials had accessed and unmasked communications of members of President Trump’s 2016 campaign, allegedly without clear justification,” Carter wrote on Jan. 9.
The whistleblowers “said the program established after the September 11, 2001, attacks has not been successful in preventing terror threats, but instead infringes on privacy rights and could easily be abused for political purposes. Those concerns were also voiced to then FBI Director James Comey in 2014, and alternative options for the program were discussed,” a source with knowledge told Carter. “And now, those intelligence officials want lawmakers to conduct extensive investigations into the program.”
A former intelligence official told Carter that “The program can be misused by anyone with access to it. There needs to be an extensive investigation of all the Americans connected to President Trump and the campaign who were unmasked in connection with the 2016 election.”