Susan Rice must testify to Congress–43jh.,b60
Former national security advisor Susan Rice’s “unmasking” of Trump campaign and transition officials caught up in intelligence services’ surveillance of foreign officials is a very big story, and a possible political scandal, today’s editorial argues. The liberal media is dismissing the story, mostly because it’s not about Trump but his predecessor. “Not only should journalists be taking this issue seriously, but Congress also owes it to the public to get the bottom of Rice’s inconsistent account of what happened and discover whether it was indeed improper.” , Susan Rice, made sure she knew who was who on President Trump’s transition team during the waning days of the Obama administration. As Trump’s team prepared to take over the federal government, intelligence services’ surveillance of foreign officials incidentally popped up with conversations about or involving members of Team Trump. Logs kept on a White House database reportedly show that Rice asked in several cases to see the names of the Americans involved. That information is typically “masked” or concealed in written reports because U.S. intelligence services are not supposed to monitor Americans. Meanwhile, details about at least one such conversation, with names included, were leaked to the Washington Post.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo on his show Tuesday morning. “What is it? Well, this suggestion that former national security adviser Susan Rice improperly unmasked the identity of Trump associates is part of what the president calls a crooked scheme. An associate of Rice says it’s just plain false.”
Don Lemon, of the same network, was even more dismissive the night before: “On this program tonight,” he had said, “we will not insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise, nor will we aid and abet the people trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating a diversion.”
It’s also a big enough story that Rice probably should not have gone on television Tuesday to discuss what she may or may not have done. But she did, and she confirmed much of the story, denying only that her actions were improper.
Not only is Rice’s track record spotty when it comes to telling the truth on television, but it is also known that the Obama administration was willing to use the coercive power the federal government to attack political opponents; just ask all those conservative groups victimized by the IRS.
Rice’s explanation also raised as many questions as it answered. For one thing, why did she deny any knowledge of this affair in a PBS interview two weeks ago, only to admit her involvement now? Is her memory just that bad?
Further, Rice told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that the names of Trump campaigners that she requested to be unmasked were neither leaked by her nor disseminated to others in government. In that case, who provided the Washington Post’s David Ignatius with the information about Mike Flynn’s phone calls to the Russian ambassador a week before Trump even took office? As Rice noted in the interview, that leak illegally put classified information into the open. Not to mention that it is a police state tactic worthy of Vladimir Putin’s government but not of ours. It is improper for intelligence services to leak secret surveillance information about American citizens to the press, even if it is gathered lawfully and by accident.
Susan Rice further confuses ‘unmasking’ story: Susan Rice did no one any favors when she appeared on MSNBC to respond to reports alleging she personally requested the identities of “masked” Americans in U.S. intelligence reports linked to President Trump’s transition team and campaign be “unmasked.” Dismissing the Susan Rice ‘unmasking’ story is the exact wrong way to cover it: Never tell a crowd of curious onlookers, “There’s nothing to see here.”
. “The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes – to spy, expose, anything,” Rice said. “That’s absolutely false.” Left unexplained: Who defines “political purposes,” and how? MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell then asked in reference to Trump’s former national security adviser: “Did you leak the name of [retired Gen. Michael Flynn]?”
Rice’s answer to this straightforward question was anything but illuminating. “I leaked nothing to nobody,” she said, “and never have and never would.” That’s a tidy double negative. Does that mean she leaked something to somebody? It’s entirely possible Rice misspoke in the moment, and that she simply garbled her words into something nearly unintelligible. Then again, it’s not out of the ordinary for a career bureaucrat to sit behind carefully parsed sentences that offer cover and plausible deniability.
The person who reportedly discovered that Rice had made several “unmasking” requests was Ezra Cohen-Watnick, according to the Bloomberg report. Cohen-Watnick was brought into the Trump administration by Flynn, who resigned just a few weeks into his term as national security advisor after it was revealed he had misrepresented his previous communications with Russian officials to Vice President Mike Pence.
“The effort to ask for the identity of the American citizen is necessary to understand the importance of an intelligence report in some circumstances,” she added.
This is some detailed information, and from former President Obama‘s national security adviser no less! It’s also a long ways away from when Rice said on March 22 that she knew “nothing” about the intelligence community’s incidental collection of information on Trump’s transition team following the Nov. 8 election.