“I know nothing about this,” said former National Security Advisor Susan Rice of federal surveillance of Donald Trump or his campaign-turned-transition team during the last year of the Obama administration.
In an interview aired March 22 with PBS NewsHour, Rice denied having any knowledge of what has been branded “incidental collection” of communications between Trump’s political teams and foreign state operatives.
In early February, The New York Times and The Washington Post coordinated with anonymous federal bureaucrats to undermine Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn subsequently resigned following claims that he misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding the nature of his communications with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak; he did not advise Pence that sanctions on Russia had come up in conversation with Kislyak.
On Monday, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reported that Rice requested the “unmasking” of identities of Americans whose communications had been “incidentally” surveilled by federal authorities. Citing anonymous federal officials “familiar with the matter,” he wrote:
White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”
Mike Cernovich first reported Susan Rice’s involvement in the “unmasking” of American identities “incidentally” surveilled by federal authorities on Sunday, connecting it to Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R.-Calif.) recent assertions:
The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests. The reports Rice requested to see are kept under tightly-controlled conditions. Each person must log her name before being granted access to them.
Upon learning of Rice’s actions, H. R. McMaster dispatched his close aide Derek Harvey to Capitol Hill to brief Chairman Nunes.
Political and news media observers will also recall that Rice was deployed by the Obama administration in 2012 to push a false narrative that the Islamic terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was provoked by what she described as a “hateful [anti-Islam] video.” Occurring months before a presidential election, the incumbent President Barack Obama mobilized his administration to play down perceptions of his team’s negligence with respect to the attack that left four Americans dead.
H/T William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection
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