Allegations against Susan Rice should be a high priority for Congress

Trevor Jackson
April 8, 2017

Trump himself said Wednesday that he believes Rice may have committed a crime.

"I think he's a person I know well - he is a good person", said Trump.

Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet - delivered FREE to your inbox as soon as they break! "It is one of the big stories of our time". Almost everyone agrees that the Russian government actively attempted to aid Trump's presidential campaign, which might be possible to explain away as not Donald Trump's fault, were it not for the fact that so many of his aides and associates have ties of one form or another to Russia, as does the president himself. Rice herself has publicly denied any wrongdoing. She said the Obama administration did not use intelligence for political purposes, but she refused to say whether she requested the names of Trump transition officials.

Rice also denied that she leaked information to the press, saying "I leaked nothing to nobody".

"I think it's going to be the biggest story", the president said.

First, neither Rice nor any other official has the authority to unmask American citizens out of mere curiosity, as she explained Tuesday in an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell. "And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information, as to who the USA official was", Rice said. If an American's name appears in a piece of intelligence - for example, if agents intercept a conversation between two foreign nationals who mention an American friend in passing - those preparing the report generally "mask" the American's name, replacing it with something like "U.S. Person". The idea is that an official could use unmasking requests to surreptitiously dig up information about a US citizen, such as a political opponent, without a warrant to surveil them.

Instead, Obama made Rice national security adviser, a job within the executive office of the president and so without need for Senate confirmation. Some of the names of the Americans involved may have been "unmasked" - revealed within secret channels so senior leaders with the appropriate clearances could see them.

Cotton went on to say, "Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it - whether it was these allegations of improper unmasking and potential improper surveillance, whether it was Benghazi or numerous other fiascos of the Obama administration".

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For example, a national security adviser might learn from an intelligence report that a foreign agent is trying to cultivate an unnamed USA official.

A source close to the matter told ABC News that Trump had no knowledge of the unmasking when he wrote those tweets.

The Washington Post reported in December 2016 that "By 2013, Obama's daily briefing was making its way to more than 30 recipients, including the president's top strategic communications aide and speechwriter, and deputy secretaries of national security departments". She called the unmasking process routine and said she only did it when it pertained to matters of national security.

Nunes also said he confirmed that "additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked". In many instances, one official said, she did it to understand, per Obama's request, how far Russian meddling in the presidential election had gone and whether or not there was any possible collusion with Trump officials.

US President Donald Trump accused an official of the Obama administration of committing a crime by asking to "unmask" the names of Trump's associates in intelligence documents, media reports said.

You see how the focus keeps getting directed away from Russian Federation to the Obama administration or any other handy object. "This suggests Rice's unmasking requests were likely within the law". He told the Times he would say more "at the right time".

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Congress should investigate because if the story is true, it's unusual that someone in Rice's White House position would request for names to be unmasked. Then Nunes' Democratic counterpart on the same committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who had complained loud and long that he had not seen the documents, viewed the same documents and afterward remained essentially mute. Democrat and Republican lawmakers continue to say no evidence supports this claim.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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