A major development in the Obama spy/leak scandal: former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice has been identified as a person who repeatedly requested that associates of Donald Trump (and perhaps Trump himself) be unmasked in raw intelligence intercepts. Eli Lake of Bloomberg reports:
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.”
The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.
If true, this is a bombshell, if not exactly a surprise. We know from her tour of the Sunday morning talk shows to misrepresent Benghazi that Rice was a political hack, more than willing to do dirty work on behalf of President Obama. Her alleged role here would fit with that history.
Rice apparently has not yet commented:
Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment on Monday morning.
Lake notes that Rice’s requesting raw intelligence in which Trump associates figured might not be illegal:
The standard for senior officials to learn the names of U.S. persons incidentally collected is that it must have some foreign intelligence value, a standard that can apply to almost anything. This suggests Rice’s unmasking requests were likely within the law.
That strikes me as a generous interpretation. In any event, if Rice and others conspired to leak confidential information or publicly disclose information about individuals like General Flynn, it would be a crime.
For an optimistic take on where the multiple Russia-related stories are heading, check out Kurt Schlichter’s piece at Townhall: “The Russiagate Scam Will Blow Up In The Democrats’ Smug Faces.”
This part certainly seems correct:
[I]t’s safe to say that there was absolutely no collusion of any kind between Team Trump and anyone Russian. None. How do I know this to a near certainty? Because we haven’t seen anybody leak any evidence of any in the six-plus months that they’ve been pushing this nonsense.
Nothing. *** You think the geniuses leading our intelligence community – not the brave and dedicated folks in the trenches but the clowns and political suck-ups lording over them – could have or would have kept real collusion secret? Do you think if Trump was cavorting with the former commies we wouldn’t have heard about it from the NYT, the WaPo and the rest of the Democrat steno pool about a week before November 8th?
Get. Real. *** Does anyone here think for a millisecond that the Obama-appointed leadership in the intelligence community, whose loyalty is to their own political class and not to the country, would hesitate for a microsecond before leaking something they thought would hurt Trump? We know they wouldn’t hesitate because they didn’t hesitate – they feloniously released a classified transcript involving Mike Flynn just to shaft him and the Administration.
Which, as Schlichter says, is the only crime we have any evidence of in the entire Russian saga.