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U.S. Embassy New Delhi / Flickr Creative Commons

The White House discovered last month that President Obama's national security advisor Susan Rice made dozens of requests to "unmask" Trump transition officials in incidental collection of their communications with electronically monitored foreign officials, per Eli Lake in Bloomberg View.

  • The caveats: Lake admitted last week that he'd been misled by Rep. Devin Nunes on a story about Obama officials incidentally surveilling Trump, and controversial pro-Trump blogger Mike Cernovich was the first to report this news yesterday.
  • What it means: The standard for unmasking is that information "must have some foreign intelligence value," which is such a broad definition that it means Rice's requests were probably legal.
  • What we do know: This new information does not validate Trump's wiretapping tweets as he specifically mentioned Obama administration surveillance of Trump Tower.
  • What might happen next: Trump also tweeted that these incidental intercepts of his associates are unrelated to Russia. Maggie Haberman of the NYT astutely notes on Twitter that POTUS could simply declassify this intel to clear the air surrounding this incidental collection.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

8 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios