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Susan Rice: Sought unmasking but “absolutely not for any political purpose”

Susan Rice: Sought unmasking but “absolutely not for any political purpose”

“I’m not going to sit here and prejudge” whether willing to testify before Congress

Susan Rice is at the center of the storm over reports that she “unmasked” the names of Trump campaign and transition officials, as described in our prior post, Susan Rice unmasked? Previously said “I know nothing about” Nunes allegations.

Given Rice’s past tattered history with regard to the Benghazi video, it’s almost a certainty that there now will be dual track congressional investigations — of alleged Trump campaign interactions with Russia and Obama administration attempts to undermine the incoming administration.

Seeking to quiet the storm, Rice appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show. Mitchell would be viewed as a safe space for Rice in which Rice could explain away the issue.

Mitchell’s intro set the stage, accusing the White House of using “smoke and mirrors.”

I’ll have the video and transcript when available.

(video added)

Mitchell’s questions allowed Rice to confuse the issue by mixing unmasking and leaking, and also framing questions as to intent rather than the facts of what happened.

Rice did not deny unmasking names of Trump campaign and transition persons, but rather, refused to name names and went back into a defense of lack of bad intent.

“I received those reports, and there were occasions I would receive a report in which a U.S. person” … “and sometimes it was necessary to find out who that U.S. official was.” Rice didn’t dispute that sometimes she requested identification. She said intelligence community made decision whether to disclose the name she had requested.

“Absolutely not for any political purpose”

She denied leaking any information. But that’s also a distraction. The issue is whether unmasking and dissemination enabled others to leak.

She refused to get into “any particular report” because it would require disclosure of classified information.

“Were there more reports provided to senior U.S. officials … Yes”

Will Rice appear before Congress: “I’m not going to sit here and prejudge” whether willing to testify before Congress.

This did not quiet the controversy.

This tweet accurately sums up how the defense of Rice has shifted:


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Meme Changes from No Evidence to No Intent.

    It went from “No Evidence” to “No Knowledge” to “No Intent”.

    Next, once we can reasonably show intent, it’ll be “No Harm, No Foul”.

    I wonder what it will be after we can show demonstrable harm. Or show that a lack of harm is irrelevant — which it is.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Archer. | April 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Sure sure.

      Sure Susan.

      And Democrat Donkeys flew too.

      RE: “Susan Rice: Sought unmasking but “absolutely not for any political purpose”

    rabidfox in reply to MattMusson. | April 4, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Is she also selling bridges?

Common Sense | April 4, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Rice is one of the Obama administration official liar’s!
We heard over and over about the video and Benghazi.
Now this…. She sure said something very different on PBS.
She did not know a thing about what happened.

I see. She did not have the ‘intent’ to break the law.

Who does she think she is, Hillary Clinton?

When you argue with a lunatic, you then have two lunatics arguing.


Just indict her, and let a court figure it out.

Susan Rice,

Now walks a person who has taken AA to the high pinnacles.

Liberty Bell | April 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Enough is Enough. Despite what pundits say, Ms. Rice’s commission as NSA advisor does not give her the right to unmask US Citizens for political purposes. If Ms. Rice cannot provide justification to investigators, she should be charged with the appropriate Federal felonies. A criminal probe, if one is not already open must be started.

    dystopia in reply to Liberty Bell. | April 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    If she indeed did this for political purposes, she deserves a long prison sentence in secure Federal facility.

      Old0311 in reply to dystopia. | April 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      If? Could there be another reason?

      rabidfox in reply to dystopia. | April 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      There just aren’t that many legal reasons for a person’s identity to be unmasked. It will be entertaining watching Rice try to twist what she did into one of those two or three very specific exceptions.

    BuckIV in reply to Liberty Bell. | April 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Haven’t heard from Sessions in a while, hopefully he’s too busy to do interviews.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to BuckIV. | April 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      I second that emotion.

      Liz in reply to BuckIV. | April 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Hopefully, Session is doing conducting interviews of the DOJ staff and potential US Atty candidates. And he has to look at all of the policies and regs to determine what to cut and ways to cut the budget.

      He needs to stay out of this issue until it gets beyond the Trump-Russia connection and into something more critical.

      If the unmasking actually started before Trump was the nominee, then which other Rs were checked out as well as was Sanders “tapped”. If Sanders was tapped, then let’s get that out which would irritate all of his supporters.

    inspectorudy in reply to Liberty Bell. | April 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    There is also culpability with the NSA because they have very strict guidelines on to whom and why any unmasking ever takes place. That means that some very highly placed people had to have broken their oath and supplied the info to Rice. This could and should be a massive investigation with results. Unfortunately, we have all seen this before and know that the msm will be on the defense the entire time for Rice and obama. As the odious Scarborough said, “What if this had been Cheney asking for this data?”. Wow! would the msm be on a tear or what?

      Why go back to Cheney? Freak these guys out by asking how they would react if Trump’s NSA does this in the run up of the 2020 election!

      Arminius in reply to inspectorudy. | April 4, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      In defense of the NSA, past President’s National security advisers have had the authority to request this information. So the real culpability lies with Obama for putting an unqualified amateur in that position.

      She’s not an intelligence analyst. Her background is in foreign policy and political hackery. Despite spending a few years on Clnton’s National Security Council, in the positions she held (director for international organizations and peacekeeping, special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs) she could only have been a consumer of finished intelligence products throughout her years in government. And the only qualification for being appointed to positions above her ability is her loyalty to whichever politician she attached herself to.

      As I said I understand a President’s National Security Advisor has the authority to request the producer of the intelligence to unmask the names. But other National Security Advisors have experience in intel. Whatever you may think of Mihael Flynn he spent years in various intelligence commands. I don’t normally depend on Wikipedia as a source, but here’s part of his bio.

      “Flynn served as the assistant chief of staff, G2, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from June 2001 and the director of intelligence at the Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until July 2002. He commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade from June 2002 to June 2004[1] and was the director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command from July 2004 to June 2007, with service in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom). He served as the director of intelligence of the United States Central Command from June 2007 to July 2008, as the director of intelligence of the Joint Staff from July 2008 to June 2009, then the director of intelligence of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010.[1][15] In September 2011, Flynn was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. On April 17, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Flynn to be the 18th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.[16][17] Flynn took command of the DIA in July 2012.[18”

      Flynn would have been familiar with the nuts and bolts of intelligence, particularly all source analysis. Rice would have no clue about it.

      The only thing Rice could have done with the information, by training and experience, is use it for political purposes.

      Of course, she would have had to provide some sort of justification to request the identities of those US persons to be unmasked. Naturally it wouldn’t be “for political purposes.” NSA would keep a log for each of her requests. I wonder if she even knows that as the requester the unmasked identities would have been sent only to her. If no one else requested the the identities be unmasked, or if the NSA didn’t approve any other requests, the leak could have only originated with her. That’s why if I were on the House or Senate Intelligence Committee I’d be in no hurry to have her brought before me in chains to testify under oath.

      Various aspects of her dismal performance during the whole Benghazi farce convinced me that, while she’s obviously smart, she’s not very interested and the details of her job. I suppose that’s for the little people. That appears to be the case here. The other day she went on PBS and said she knew nothing about Rep. Nunes’ allegations. Did she even know an audit of her own White House log would disprove that statement? I’m convinced she’s not aware of the trail she left, how many finger prints she didn’t clean up. I’d run down all those loose ends before bringing her in. She wouldn’t know what hit her.

    At least this time around we have a better Attorney General than any under the last administration.

healthguyfsu | April 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Nice use of the “safe space” in the article.

This isn’t big…

This is Huuuuuuuge!

Lying must always have consequences…

In one way, I am getting tired of all of this politics. But, it does seem to distract the MSM and then it’s too late for them to complain what just happened with Trump and his executive actions.

CNN is SCREAMING she did nothing illegal, let alone unethical or wrong. Trying to make the case that NATSEC led them/her there & coincidence of coincidences, it was Trump people whose names popped up. All deflection, misdirection.


    It’s faux outrage (fauxtrage?) that Trump people’s names turned up.

    Any even remotely critical analysis would remember, they were tapping the Trump campaign! That’s what started this whole thing, was Trump’s allegation that the mis-named “intelligence services” tapped his campaign.

    That turns out to have been true.

    And now we’re supposed to be surprised that when you tap Trump’s campaign, Trump’s people’s names turn up?

    Alert the media! I took a look at Mika Brzezinski’s Twitter feed, and do you know who I found posting? Mika Brzezinski! Call the NYT, this is BIG news!


      Milhouse in reply to Archer. | April 4, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Any even remotely critical analysis would remember, they were tapping the Trump campaign!

      Says who?

      That’s what started this whole thing, was Trump’s allegation that the mis-named “intelligence services” tapped his campaign.

      That turns out to have been true.

      Not so far, it doesn’t. No evidence has yet emerged for this.

      And now we’re supposed to be surprised that when you tap Trump’s campaign, Trump’s people’s names turn up?

      Except that nothing so far indicates that’s what happened. What they seem to have done instead is tap everyone they could, scan the transcripts looking for anyone who looked like they might be connected with Trump, and then ask for their names. That way they can claim not to have targeted them, and to be surprised that their names turned up, but really if you cast your net wide enough you’re almost bound to find the person you’re really looking for.

        Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | April 4, 2017 at 8:06 pm

        Tap really isn’t the right term in the digital age, but it’s useful shorthand so I won’t nitpick. But I have to disagree here; I doubt that they were targeting everyone they could. But if they were focusing their surveillance on foreign intelligence targets solely because Trump or members of his transition team would have legitimate reasons to talk to them, that would prove they were effectively targeting Trump and his transition team.

          inspectorudy in reply to Arminius. | April 5, 2017 at 11:32 am

          I do not understand her purpose for the request to unmask the people in the surveillance. The WH has no authority to conduct any type of investigation, domestic or foreign. They are only supposed to receive the compiled intelligence for national security purposes. What purpose would Rice have for knowing who and what Trump and his people were saying unless the IC judged it to be a security risk? What could she possibly have done with this info that would have increased national security?

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | April 5, 2017 at 8:02 pm

          “I do not understand her purpose for the request to unmask the people in the surveillance.”

          Yes you do.

          “The WH has no authority to conduct any type of investigation, domestic or foreign. They are only supposed to receive the compiled intelligence for national security purposes.”

          Then why did the NSC’s staff go from a few dozen personnel under Bush to over 400 under Obama?

          “What purpose would Rice have for knowing who and what Trump and his people were saying unless the IC judged it to be a security risk?”

          It dawned on me earlier today that I may have to eat some of my words. I retired in 2008. Obama has apparently altered the landscape to the point where I wouldn’t recognize it. It’s my sense of things that Obama has over his eight years gone to the very edge of precipice of legality to modify the rules and regulations for dissemination to turn the IC into his personal and political tool. And that enough of his holdovers remain in place to make sure it remains so.

          I didn’t initially believe that Joe de Genova character when he said Susan Rice had ordered spreadsheets of Trump and his transition team members’ legal phone calls prepared but now I’m not so quick to discount that something along those lines was going on. Because as I mentioned in my earlier comment then you could claim you were targeting the foreign power/agent, but really your target was Trump and his team.

          I stand behind my earlier statement. Based upon her training and experience, Susan Rice could only use the information she demanded for political purposes. And it’s my impression Obama did as much as he could to limit the IC’s ability to say no.

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | April 5, 2017 at 8:38 pm

          I agree with you 100%, inspectorudy. Rice had no legitimate reason to have access that information. Yet she gained access to it. All I can say is any guy who would give away the store to Iran has other priorities than national defense and security. At least of the United States. And this episode is bearing witness to that fact.

    Rick the Curmudgeon in reply to Daiwa. | April 4, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Methinks the networks doth protest too much.

Old and busted: Obama administration did not spy on Trump campaign/transition.
New and hot: Damn right they did!

    Arminius in reply to myiq2xu. | April 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    This nicely sums up why I don’t read Slate. I won’t even click on a link to Slate. Because with several of the 16 commands and agencies that make up the United States Intelligence Community with their thousands of intelligence officers and analysts broadly sharing the responsibility of keeping tabs on things pertaining to Russia and the kind of hanky panky they think Trump was involved in, you’d have to be a complete idiot to think that National Security Adviser Susan Rice personally had to do it.

    Of course, I’m not a liberal for the same reason I won’t read Slate.

Logically, “I leaked nothing to nobody” is equivalent to “I leaked something to everybody.” One must parse the left very carefully.

    inspectorudy in reply to MTED. | April 4, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    “I leaked nothing to nobody” is a Clintonian phrase if there ever was one. Just read it for what it says. I leaked NOTHING to NOBODY. This actually means that she leaked something to somebody because if she leaked nothing to nobody then nobody got leaked to. Then the question becomes who is nobody and what is nothing?

    Walker Evans in reply to MTED. | April 4, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Precisely. So, who did she leak to?

Here is what I think was suppose to happen, according to the post-election Obama plan.

1) The CIA maintained a library of Russian cyber-attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware that left a Russian footprint.

2) The Trump team would have been in contact with those under surveillance, and traces of “Russia” would find their way onto their devices.

3) Knowing that their pre-election chicanery was going to be revealed, and recognizing the possibilities offered by item #1 and item #2, the Obama, Mama Jarrett, and Hatchet gal Rice unmasked the Trump team with an eye to making sure they could see where claims of “collusion with Russia” would make most sense…with an eye to the ultimate impeachment of Trump.

Sadly for them, Trump’s spirit animal is the honey badger. Now, there are very reasonable demands for an investigation into Rice, Obama is enjoying an extended stay in the South Pacific, and Trump is erasing the entire Obama legacy as quickly as he can (given how deep the swamp is).

I would be more joyous if Lois Lerner were jailed, Eric Holder was in prison instead of working at the behest of California politicos to battle Trump, and we had a new head at the IRS.

But I will still enjoy this victory over Team Obama very much.

    However, until they could get something on Trump for impeachment purposes, their strategy was to leak something about someone to keep the Trump Administration on the defense and always losing a key advisor.

How’s that 25th Amendment thing coming along?

    Milhouse in reply to Petrushka. | April 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Since it can only be triggered by Pence and a majority of the cabinet, it was always a no-go. Impeachment is easier.

“I leaked nothing to nobody”, double negative meaning “I leaked something to somebody”

It is excruciatingly simple:

Objectively, I understand the concept of “unmasking” people who speak with targeted foreign personnel. Hell, it’s the JOB of our various and sundry intel agencies to do that and if they aren’t doing it, what the hell are we paying them for?

If it wasn’t political in nature, fine…then tell us how many people that she requested be “unmasked” who were not Trump, who were not Trump family members, who were not Trump confidants, and who were not principals in the Trump campaign.

If it wasn’t purely political, then there should be hundreds – maybe thousands – of US Citizens who should have been “unmasked”, the vast majority of them NOT Trump, NOT a Trump family member, NOT a Trump confidant, and NOT a principal in the Trump campaign.

No names necessary…Just the Numbers: “X” would be the total number of names that were requested to be “unmasked” by Rice during the time period in-question. “Y” would be Trump, Trump Family, Trump Confidants, or Trump Campaign Principals.

Reasonable inferences could be drawn based solely upon the X-Y ratio.

    Liz in reply to MJN1957. | April 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    It needs to be fine-tuned to include the other R and D candidates. Did she ask for info on Sanders and Clinton?

    If Obama was concerned about his legacy, he also had to wonder about how Hillary or Sanders may have changed things.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MJN1957. | April 4, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Your second and third paragraphs are dead on right. That is the heart of the motive and renders the actions political and thus, felonious. Big time. Lock them all up.

    (p.s. does anybody know why the copy/paste doesn’t work on this site anymore?)

It’s time to get Rice on the record, under oath, answering direct, hard questions.

Jeff Sessions, you are wanted on the red courtesy phone….

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | April 4, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    It’s time to get Susan Rice in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit.

    No bail.

    Arminius in reply to Ragspierre. | April 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    It’s not time yet. Don’t be in so much of a hurry. At the moment it’s time for the GOP members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees to get their doo-doo assembled in one nice neat pile so they know the answers to every possible question before putting the lying witch under oath.

American Human | April 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm

it is safe to conclude that nothing whatsoever will happen to her. She will not be held accountable for anything.

Remember Scooter Libby!!!!!

“Absolutely not for political reasons.”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! (Wink, wink!)

tarheelkate | April 4, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Let her explain what possible reason she could have had for doing this that was NOT political. She’s not an investigator. She was a policy advisor.

“Absolutely not for any political purposes!” (Wink, wink!) ????

With God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly.