Susan Rice has emerged as a key figure in the scandal surrounding the surveillance of the Trump campaign.
A shocking report revealed she had unmasked Trump officials.
Then she followed that up and admitted to something many now believe is a scandal worse than Watergate itself.
Rice had agreed to hold an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
It was a friendly setting, designed as damage control to put out the fires surrounding her involvement in this growing scandal.
But her interview only made things worse.
Rice admitted to unmasking American citizens in intelligence reports.
She also confessed to ordering the unmasking of Trump officials.
“Rice admitted asking for the names of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports to be “unmasked.” Rice said: “There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to. Name not provided, just U.S. person. 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 that U.S. official was.” Rice argued it was necessary for her and other officials to request that information, on occasion, to “do our jobs” to protect national security.
Rice admitted asking specifically for the names of members of Donald Trump’s transition team. She argued that she had not done so for political purposes, however. Mitchell asked: “Did you seek the names of people involved in — to unmask the names of people involved in the Trump transition, the people surrounding the president-elect in order to spy on them and expose them?” Rice answered: “Absolutely not for any political purposes to spy, expose, anything.”
While unmasking American citizens in itself is not illegal, Rice’s role in the unmasking of Trump officials raises some troubling questions, and it could put her in legal danger.
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy – a former federal prosecutor who put away the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing – detailed why Rice fishing around for the names of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports violates the law.
“In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA. All three agencies conducted a probe and issued a joint report in January. That was after Obama, despite having previously acknowledged that the Russian activity was inconsequential, suddenly made a great show of ordering an inquiry and issuing sanctions.
Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies. And if it had been critical to know the identities of Americans caught up in other foreign intelligence efforts, the agencies that collect the information and conduct investigations would have unmasked it. Because they are the agencies that collect and refine intelligence “products” for the rest of the “intelligence community,” they are responsible for any unmasking; and they do it under “minimization” standards that FBI Director James Comey, in recent congressional testimony, described as “obsessive” in their determination to protect the identities and privacy of Americans.
Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an intelligence need based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies. The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.”
Senator Rand Paul has suggested Susan Rice be subpoenaed so she has to testify under oath about the extent of her role in this scandal.
Given her history of lying to the media about intelligence matters – Rice lied on five Sunday shows claiming a YouTube video caused the Benghazi terrorist attacks, and lied two weeks ago claiming she knew nothing about the incidental surveillance on the Trump campaign – getting her under oath will be the best bet to unravel this Watergate level conspiracy.