Gowdy: Surveillance Programs Won't Be Renewed Until 'Unmasking' Questions Answered
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said this morning that key surveillance programs won't be reauthorized by Congress until questions about intelligence "unmasking" are answered.
At a House Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday in the Russia investigation, Gowdy asked former CIA Director John Brennan about the issue.
Gowdy told Bill Hemmer this morning that he and other lawmakers still want more information on the procedures for unmasking the identities of Americans picked up in foreign surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Fox News reported in April that former national security adviser Susan Rice requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in incidental surveillance. The information was then reportedly distributed to top intelligence and national security officials.
"That is a privilege to be able to request that a U.S. person's name be unmasked," said Gowdy. "I want to know who's making the request [and] what is the evidentiary basis of that request? And if it's late in your tenure - like the day before you leave office - that should send off alarms and sirens in your head as to why that person did it," said Gowdy.
Gowdy said key parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act won't be renewed before they expire at year-end unless the American people are satisfied that their "security is going to be safeguarded."
Asked whether there is evidence of the Obama administration "abusing" the unmasking procedures, Gowdy said the matter needs to be looked at further.
Gowdy said he's still waiting for answers about what occurred late in the Obama administration, but is not accusing the former president of "spying" on the Trump team.
Watch the "America's Newsroom" clip above and watch Gowdy's update on the committee's Russia probe below.