Monday's HOT MIC

Monday's HOT MIC

The anatomy of an anonymouse, or four:

A review of the surveillance material flagged by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes shows no inappropriate action by Susan Rice or any other Obama administration official, Republican and Democratic Congressional aides who have been briefed on the matter told NBC News.

President Donald Trump told the New York Times he believed former National Security Adviser Rice broke the law by asking for the identities of Trump aides who were mentioned in transcripts of U.S. surveillance of foreign targets. Normally, the identities of Americans are blacked out in transcripts circulated by the National Security Agency, but they may be "unmasked," if their identities are relevant to understanding the intelligence.

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees from both parties have traveled to NSA headquarters to review the relevant intelligence reports. "I saw no evidence of any wrongdoing," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents, who would not agree to be identified further. "It was all completely normal."

His assessment was shared by a senior Republican aide who had been briefed on the matter but declined to speak on the record. The finding by lawmakers of both parties was first reported by CNN.

Time was when real reporters were allowed to cite "anonymice" -- that is to say, axe-grinding cowards or wholly fabricated individuals -- except in exigent circumstances and then only with extreme reluctance. Not any more. And the media wonders why nobody except their coevals on Twitter believes them.