Susan Rice took to MSNBC on Tuesday to deny reports that she revealed the identities of Americans surveilled by the federal government in her former capacity as Barack Obama’s national security advisor. More broadly, she denied that the Obama administration had weaponized intelligence for partisan political advancement.
Speaking with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Rice denied partisan politicization of intelligence agencies' work.
“Well Andrea, this is not anything political, has been alleged. The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That’s absolutely false.”
The “unmasking” of American identities whose communications were captured during “incidental collection” was necessary, said Rice, in instances where such identities are germane to grasping the importance of the intercepted communications and broader intelligence.
Rice provided a hypothetical scenario to illustrate the occasional necessity of “unmasking” American identities captured via “incidental collection:”
“Let’s say there was a conversation between two foreigners about a conversation they were having with an American who was proposing to sell to them high-tech bomb-making equipment.”
Such “unmasking,” added Rice, is only done by intelligence operatives to “protect the American people” and “to do our jobs.”
Asked by Mitchell if she sought the “unmasking” of names of Americans involved with President Donald Trump’s campaign-turned-transition team, Rice replied with a caveat, “Absolutely not, for any political purposes.”
Rice did not deny that she sought the revelation of American identities via “unmasking” of persons involved with Trump’s political teams.
Rice also denied leaking Mike Flynn’s name to anyone.
Trump's claim that he had been "wiretapped" was "absolutely false," said Rice. She also denied that any surveillance had been carried out on "Trump individuals" at the direction of the Obama administration.
Political and media observers should note that the Obama administration lowered classification levels of intelligence reports connected to Trump's political teams, facilitating their selective leaking to left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets. The New York Times reported on March 1:
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
Watch Rice's interview with Mitchell below.
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