WASHINGTON, D.C. — Susan Rice, former national security adviser to former president Barack Obama, is the official who ordered the unmasking of Trump officials during a period of secret surveillance, according to a report published today by Bloomberg (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-03/top-obama-adviser-sought-names-of-trump-associates-in-intel.
According to the report, the unmasked names, which were collected through electronic surveillance of then candidate and President-elect Trump, family members and and people close to the future president, were then sent to high ranking members of the National Security Council, Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan and former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.
Rice, who Newsweek once described as former President Barack Obama’s “right-hand woman,” denied knowledge of the activity last month when asked by PBS’s “NewsHour” were the subject of surveillance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=sH0akjRDJsY&app=desktop).
“I know nothing about this,” Rice said, adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”
The report also claims that a high level U.S. official with first hand knowledge of the matter said that the conversations that were recorded by Rice contained, “valuable political information on the Trump transition,” such as the then president-elect’s transition plans and policy views of some of the newly selected members of Trump’s team.
Two independent sources told Bloomberg that the review was conducted by then National Security Council senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick.
“Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities,” the sources revealed.
The revelation comes in the wake of Evelyn Farkas’ unexpected admission last month that the former Obama deputy secretary of defense “was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill – it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration.”
Since blurting out the statement during a live television broadcast, Farkas now says she was “misquoted” and has recanted her comments.
Meanwhile, Fox News reported on Monday (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/03/susan-rice-requested-to-unmask-names-trump-transition-officials-sources-say.html) that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes found out about the surveillance and unmasking of Trump officials back in January, months before President Trump’s tweet in March in which he claimed that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration.
This is not the first time that Rice’s credibility has come into question.
Under then president Obama’s orders Rice appeared on several major Sunday morning talk shows in September 2012 after the terrorist attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, famously blaming the incident on a spontaneous protest that occurred in response to an Internet video defaming Islam.
Evidence later showed that both Rice and the Obama administration knew that not to be true.