Eventually the records will be obtained. Eventually.
Susan Rice’s unmasking of names was the focus of a firestorm barely two months ago.
We wrote about the issue on April 3, Susan Rice unmasked? Previously said “I know nothing about” Nunes allegations, and the following day on her interview by Andrea Mitchell, Susan Rice: Sought unmasking but “absolutely not for any political purpose”:
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”
Rice said “I’m not going to sit here and prejudge” whether willing to testify before Congress, but later refused a Senate request to testify voluntarily.
The unmasking issue took an unexpected turn when Judicial Watch discovered that the National Security Council records of Rice’s unmasking requests had been transferred to the Obama Library (which hasn’t even been built yet). We covered that development in the post Susan Rice’s great unmasking escape: National Security Council records sent to Obama Library:
Judicial Watch’s press release states, in part, that the records not only have been removed, they may be unavailable for 5 years:
Judicial Watch today announced that the National Security Council (NSC) on May 23, 2017, informed it by letter that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.
The NSC will not fulfill an April 4 Judicial Watch request for records regarding information relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.”
The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials. Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:
Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.
The obvious response was that congressional investigators might need to get involved to get the records.
That may be easier said than done. The Washington Times reports Sealing and transfer of Susan Rice records angers House committee investigating ‘unmasking’:
House intelligence committee sources say career officials at the National Security Council are slow-walking the delivery of subpoenaed records on former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice’s handling of classified information and the “unmasking” of Trump campaign workers — material from the Russian hacking probe that middle-level NSC managers claim was transferred to President Obama’s library and could “remain closed to the public for five years.”
One source, speaking only on the condition of anonymity, called the transfer curious and appeared to reflect an effort by former administration officials to obscure evidence on whether Ms. Rice and other top officials in the Obama White House illegally tried to identify which Trump campaign and transition aides had been caught up in the U.S. intelligence intercepts of Russian interference in the presidential race.
The two high-level intelligence committee sources told The Washington Times that they are confident the panel’s investigators, despite the delays, will eventually get their hands on the records shipped to a heavily secure archive for Mr. Obama’s yet-to-be-built presidential library.
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