Susan Rice's NSA demasking denials don't add up — Former CIA Analyst

by Noah Mcgee April 5, 2017, 1:55

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice strongly denied Republican charges that the Obama Administration sought to politicize surveillance during the presidential transition.

Rice said recently in an interview with PBS that she knew nothing about the claims that Trump transition officials' names might have been collected in the surveillance of foreigners after the election.

This is a fire storm.

"The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes".

"I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this", Rice said.

It's not unusual for the USA government to use intelligence collected from foreigners to get a sense of how other countries view the administration.

The reports were likely based on routine surveillance of foreign officials.

"If I saw an intelligence report that looked potentially significant", she explained, "I can make that request", to "unmask" names of USA citizens.

But there is no evidence of that, NBC News reported, and Rice denied the allegation in her interview. Is this some kook sitting in his living room communicating via the internet offering to sell something he doesn't have, or is this a serious person, or company, or entity, with the ability to provide that technology, perhaps to an adversary? "An example would be for the redaction to state "[minimized US person A]".

She explained it would be necessary to find out the identity of the American to see if he was a legitimate threat or just some "kook".

"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 US who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally", Lake wrote. That is what I, and the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, CIA director, DNI, would do when we received that information. However, senior national security officials can request the identities of the Americans if that helps understand the intelligence better. That's the only reason.

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The Administration has pushed back on the reports of Russian Federation contacts by saying they stem from efforts by Obama officials to undermine Trump. He held USA government national security positions for 25 years with the CIA, DIA, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. Fleitz also served as Chief of Staff to John R. Bolton when he was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in the George W. Bush administration.

As a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who has handled requests for demasking the names of American citizens for a USA policymaker, I thought Rice's claims in her interview did not add up.

"Well, I'm not going to - that's a nice backdoor into a line of questioning".

MITCHELL: The allegation is that in one case, they are alleging in the Daily Caller that there was a spreadsheet that you printed out of all of these names and circulated. Insiders say Rice is ambitious and aggressive.

"Does this White House look at what she allegedly requested as a national security issue?" However, Rice contends that the requests were for a legitimate goal and not to spy on Trump.

"The notion that some people are trying to suggest, is that by asking for the identity of a person is leaking it, is unequivocally false", Rice added.

And in yet another appearance, Sciutto also setup something of a strawman, arguing that the unmasking story is not important because "unmasking is not leaking".

Cernovich went on to claim that he was certain New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman had been also aware of the information but withheld it to protect the former Obama staffer as well as the president. Rice responded, "It was not typical of the way that presidents treat their predecessors".

Rice appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN and regurgitated talking points purporting that the protests that had erupted "spontaneously" near two USA government facilities in Benghazi, Libya and were a result of a "hateful video" that was offensive to Islam.

"The smoking gun is that President Trump said he was wiretapped", he elaborated on MSNBC. Congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, confused the matter even further by seemingly disclosing to the public that he had been provided classified intelligence reports indicating that there was at least one (if not multiple) FISA warrants that had authorized the surveillance in which = Trump and/or his associates had been caught up incidentally. That can only come from the Justice Department through an established process.

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