Obama's rule changes opened door for NSA intercepts of Americans to reach political hands

A U.S. intelligence official directly familiar with the procedures told Circa that while the unmasking requirements have been eased and the availability of intercepts widened, the NSA still regards protecting Americans’ privacy as essential.

“When [the NSA] uses their authority to unmask them we have very stringent rules,” the official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity due to secret nature of the NSA’s work. “We have very strict oversight from all three branches of government — the executive, judicial and legislative.

“We obviously are concerned that the authorities that are granted are not abused, and that’s why we have a strict compliance regimen.”

Spokesmen for Obama, Brennan, Lynch and Rice did not immediately return calls Tuesday seeking comment. However, when questioned recently about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ allegations that Obama administration officials had access to unmasked American intercepts of Trump associates at the end of the Obama presidency, Rice said she knew of no reason for concern.