US asked that 1,934 Americans’ names be ‘unmasked’ in intel

US asked that 1,934 Americans' names be 'unmasked' in intel

WASHINGTON — Government officials requested to know the identities of more than 1,900 Americans whose information was swept up in National Security Agency surveillance programs last year, according to a newly-released intelligence report.

The identities of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents were found in 3,914 intelligence reports the NSA distributed last year, said the report released Tuesday. The annual report comes just weeks after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser of possibly committing a crime when she asked government analysts to disclose the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports.

Most names in such intelligence reports are masked to protect privacy, but last year government officials requested that 1,934 identities — not initially revealed in the NSA reports — be unmasked in order to understand the intelligence being conveyed. In 2015, government officials requested the unmasking of 2,232 identities.

Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, has said that neither she nor other Obama officials used secret intelligence reports to spy on Trump associates for political purposes. Rice’s official role would have given her the ability to request that names be revealed for national security purposes.

In interviews, Rice acknowledged that she sometimes asked for the names of Americans referenced in reports. She would not say whether she saw intelligence related to Trump associates or whether she asked for their identities, though she did say that reports related to Russia increased in the final months of the presidential election campaign.

Lawmakers have repeatedly asked U.S. intelligence agencies to tell them how many Americans’ emails and calls are vacuumed up by warrantless government surveillance programs created to collect information on foreign intelligence targets.

“This report provides a small window into the government’s surveillance activities, but it leaves vital questions unanswered,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a statement. “At the top of the list is how many Americans’ communications are being swept up.”

After former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing extensive government surveillance, Congress passed a law that ended bulk collection. But communications companies can collect the data and the NSA still can access it for national security purposes.

The report showed that even under the new law, the NSA still collected more than 151 million records about Americans’ phone calls last year.

Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Outbreak at Okanagan hospital

Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Kelowna public menorah lit tonight to celebrate Hanukkah

The menorah will be lit tonight after celebrations at 5 p.m. in Stuart Park

Big Band supports children with disabilities in Lake Country

Proceeds from the Okanagan Big Band performance in Vernon supports local kids

Were your hockey cards stolen?

The Kelowna RCMP are looking to reunite a hockey fan with their cards

RCMP look to reunite owner with stolen tools

Kelowna police seek to identify the owner of tablet and tools seized by RCMP

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Warriors ground Rockets in Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw scores five in the third period to down Kelowna in Rockets’ third game of prairie road trip

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Dedicated volunteers look for clues

Police appreciate work of those who provide extra eyes for missing women investigations.

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Horgan on Site C: ‘dammed’ if did, ‘dammed’ if he didn’t

B.C. premier didn’t like keeping massive hydro damn project going, but felt he had to

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Most Read