“I Know Nothing About This”: Rice Accused Of Ordering Unmasking Of Trump Aides and Then Lying About Her Knowledge [UPDATED]

Susan_Rice,_official_State_Dept_photo_portrait,_2009donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedI have written about my mixed views of coverage of President Donald Trump. On one hand, he has caused much of the negative coverage with sensational and insulting tweets — as well as unforced errors by his White House staff.  On the other hand, I have never seen more biased coverage by some major outlets which fail to offer counterarguments in favor of Trump or ignore developments supporting his claims.  The recent disclosure that the unmasking of Trump aides may have been ordered by President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice is a case in point.  The most recent story was published by Bloomberg News. The startling disclosure was all but ignored by major outlets and networks or given only passing attention.  As I have said on air, the unmasking allegation is a serious one and it is made all the more serious by the denials of Rice that she had any knowledge of any unmasking. [Update:  Rice has gone on air and, while refusing to address the requests to unmask these individuals, she insisted that such requests are not unusual and, if done, were not done for political purposes.  She did not deny that she was indeed the person asking for the unmasking of the individuals.]

The story emerging suggests the White House learned last month that Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports involving Trump staff inadvertently intercepted.  There were reportedly dozens of such requests, suggesting a comprehensive and ongoing effort to unmask aides.  That would constitute a serious privacy abuse and raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence operations for political purposes.

The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, reportedly discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons and raised it with the White House.

U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive (Section 18) only allows unmasking of the identity of U.S persons when it is essential to national security. The question is why the identity of Trump aides satisfied this standard if there was no evidence (as has been reported) of collusion.  Nevertheless, this intent standard is difficult to violate absent a confession or incriminating statement.

However, just last month, Rice  was asked on the “PBS NewsHour” about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said: “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

That would seem to magnify the importance of the story. Yet, it has received relatively little attention on some networks.  It raises past concerns with media largely ignoring proven lies from Democratic officials like James Clapper.  Rice should be given the right to respond and deny these accusations, but there should be greater media interest in the answer.  CNN however has called claims under that story “demonstrably untrue” while others on the network have openly dismissed it as news.  Why? I can understand demanding further proof but this seems a legitimate and important news story. It is certainly for civil libertarians long concerned with unmasking by intelligence officials.

Fox News has reported that unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director.  However, Clapper has also denied any such knowledge. I have previously written about Clapper’s emergence as a reliable witness in this controversy.

It seems impossible for some reporters to admit that Trump might have been partially right about surveillance and that the Obama Administration might have committed serious privacy violations.  The facts still need to be established but there remains troubling questions raised by these reports.

In her only public statement, there was no effort to press Rice on her earlier denial of knowing anything about any unmasking of aides.  Now she says such unmasking was routine and confidently denies that it involved political motivations.  By the way, there still remains how this routine practice threatens not just privacy but she would have likely known that these were political opponents.  Rice returned to the same parsing of words of “wiretap” — a point that I have previously criticized.

233 thoughts on ““I Know Nothing About This”: Rice Accused Of Ordering Unmasking Of Trump Aides and Then Lying About Her Knowledge [UPDATED]”

  1. Hold on. After all the denials about the specific word “wiretap”…how could the names of Trump and his aides be unmasked unless they had recorded audio of their conversation? Is it just not called “wiretapping” now? So they could legitimately sneer at such a ludicrous accusation, all the while actually having illegally unmasked conversations that they had recorded, just calling it another name?

    I think that Trump may have been wrong about a specific like wiretapping, but right overall that the previous Administration weaponized the intelligence community against his political opponents. And past behavior predicts future. It seems unlikely that they would have only spied on Trump and not the other candidates. Also, as I’ve said before, he chose the wrong venue. Rather than making the accusation via Twitter, he should have quietly and thoroughly gathered all the evidence and then laid them out before Congress and the American people like a royal flush. But, again, past behavior predicts future, and I expect that Trump will continue to extemporaneously fire off Tweets throughout his Presidency, which will alternately connect with us and frustrate us.

    In any case, I have been disturbed for years about the weaponization of our own government and mainstream media against conservatives. The various news outlets have become little more than a Democratic mouthpiece, a State Propaganda machine when Democrats rule. I have been unable to understand the almost uniform lack of concern among Democrats, because the monster they have enabled will turn on them, too. I would no more want to see the weaponization of our agencies against Democrats as I would about conservatives. It is anathema to our values of freedom, especially free speech.

    1. Oh, and Rice will always have that albatross of “it was a video” hanging around her neck, as far as I’m concerned. It was a deliberate lie; she knew it at the time; her reliability is in ruins.

      1. Susan Rice doubled down on her stupid comments when she stated that Bo Bergdahl
        served “with honor and distinction”.
        Bergdahl’s trial is scheduled for later this month…..it’s already been delayed/ postponed at least twice.
        Maybe the defense counsel for Bergdahl will call Ms. Rice as a star witness.

    2. “I have been unable to understand the almost uniform lack of concern among Democrats, because the monster they have enabled will turn on them, too.
      They are unconcerned because they only value remaining in power, regardless of the means or method. That it certainly will eventually turn on them involves thinking beyond the next election.

  2. We do clearly see a lack of examination of this issue by the MSM. There is a lot of evidence to this story. It isn’t anonymous officials. Questions which should be asked aren’t being asked. Why not? Who is telling the MSM to back off? Who is telling them to obfuscate when they absolutely have to deal with at least something on this story? Why are they so willing to comply? Why is protecting Obama’s “legacy” (I don’t think any sane person would want to claim that legacy!) more important than telling the public the truth.

    And the MSM just expects/demands to be believed? Really? Rice expects us to buy her lies and weasel words? Why? Looks like the msm is desperate with more PUTIN stories brought to you by unnamed IC tools. And we should believe them, why?

  3. I will ‘splain the news to you in simple, easy to understand terms. Once you’ve grasped the principle, you will understand everything you need to know about the media:

    MSM says: Leftism good; Opponents to Leftism Bad.

    That’s it! See, I told you it was simple. Now, let’s try an example and see if you get the principle.

    New York Times says: ______________________

    Did you answer: Leftism good; Opponents to Leftism Bad?

    If you did, then you understand the news better than 80% of the public! Alright. Let’s try one more for those who got it wrong.

    CNN says: ________________________________

    Did you answer: Leftism good; Opponents to Leftism Bad? If you did, then you’ve got it down pat!. If you didn’t, then you, unfortunately, have been brainwashed and will believe anything the MSM tells you because that’s the way you’ve been programmed. Sorry. You’ll just have to live with being stuck with the rest of the 80% who haven’t a clue as to what is really going on.

  4. So Rice just now released a statement admitting this but denies it was for political purposes nor did she leak anything. Last week she claimed she knew nothing. Will MSM investigate or report? I venture to guess…no.

    1. She didn’t have to do the leaking. Once it was unmasked and spread around anyone could leak it to the media. Does anyone in the press care to ask her WHY she unmasked the names? Was there a suspicion of wrong doing? Or just political fun and games? The woman has zero credibility. And a lot of tire marks from being thrown under the Obama bus so many times. (Benghazi, Bergdahl and now this.)

    1. I’m curious how you determine what is Faux Newz and what is real news? What’s your method Mr Benson?

  5. Mr. Benson:

    It was Bloomberg News that broke the story. Sorry if that doesn’t fit your own fake news preferences.

    1. Actually, Mike Cernovich “broke” the story. Both Bloomberg and the NYT had the story, but were sitting on it for political reasons. Cernovich got it from his agents in those organizations. After Cernovich ran it, then Bloomberg released it.


      There is another story up now, with more details of Rice’s nefarious activites:

      This morning, the Daily Caller has provided new details, courtesy of former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, suggesting that Rice specifically requested that the NSA provide her with “detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates.”

      “What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

      “The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”

      Meanwhile, Retired Colonel James Waurishuk, an NSC veteran and former deputy director for intelligence at the U.S. Central Command, said that the level of coordination required to pull off such a massive spying operation is staggering and would have required numerous personnel from the White House, NSA, CIA, National Security Council, etc.

      “The surveillance initially is the responsibility of the National Security Agency,” Waurishuk said. “They have to abide by this guidance when one of the other agencies says, ‘we’re looking at this particular person which we would like to unmask.’”

      “The lawyers and counsel at the NSA surely would be talking to the lawyers and members of counsel at CIA, or at the National Security Council or at the Director of National Intelligence or at the FBI,” he said. “It’s unbelievable of the level and degree of the administration to look for information on Donald Trump and his associates, his campaign team and his transition team. This is really, really serious stuff.”

      In other words, it’s growing increasingly unlikely that this operation was anything but a direct, targeted attempt of the Obama administration to utilize the full force of the U.S. intelligence apparatus to take down a political adversary.


      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. The “weaponizing” of our intelligence agencies against political opponents should be something that alarms EVERYONE. One would have to be politically myopic to defend this alleged abuse of power. Are you willing to bet all of your remaining freedoms that there is no there, there? At best, no one did anything nefarious, but a full investigation will be necessary to prove that. At worst, the IC would be targeting ANYONE without restraint. Do you really want to defend a political party’s potential weaponizing of government agencies? Do you not realize the “peaceful transfer of power” transfers these weaponized agencies to your political opponent?

        1. True. But IMHO, the DNC types are myopic, and don’t care about right and wrong. To them, rules are for suckers. They just play to win. Lie, cheat, steal, smear, stuff the ballot box – – – whatever. As long as they win.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. Squeeky,
            I believe conservatives, or at least those that believe in the rule of law, are really in a no win situation. They are bringing a knife (absolutism) to a gunfight (relativism). The relativists will use any means necessary to win; the absolutists are by definition using limited means. Either the former needs to play by the rules or the latter needs to abandon the rules. By abandoning the rules, the absolutists become the relativists and the rule of law is gone.

            1. What is your plan of attack? Conservatives have lost the communication game for decades, allowing the far Left to define us.

              1. I would begin by returning control of our education system as close as possible to the community. Then I would require teaching of US Civics from elementary through high school. Teach why this country was formed, warts and all. Teach the history that led to the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the amendments. Teach students how to think and not what to think. Provide students the same information that was available to our founders. Learn it, debate it and then once informed, decide if they got it right. The most basic questions that need to be answered is why was this country formed? What did the founders believe natural rights are and do we have rights that don’t come from government? If we conclude we have rights that preexist any government, then does the DoI get it right about the purpose for government? If we conclude all rights are a construct of society and/or government, then is our form of government the right one? We have to be able to honestly answer these questions. The tension we seem to have now centers on these two beliefs and we cannot have it both ways.

                1. Might I add, that the first step should be to recognize reality, and quit treating Democrats as if they are worthy of respect. Ram the nuclear option through whenever you can, and don’t pretend that they give a hoot about principles. Never miss a chance to disparage them, and simply start calling them what they are. Stupid, and criminals. Start calling them out for wanting to stuff the ballot boxes with with illegal alien voters. Stop negotiating and start clobbering them when you have the chance. Impeach Ruth Ginsberg for her refusal to adhere to non partisan stances.

                  Legislate an end to the rules which permit the SCOTUS to be off limits to protesters, and let protesters start harassing the justices as they try to get to their cars, the same way that these justices hold that such activity is protected speech.

                  Stop playing nice. Stop giving a hoot what the NYT or Washington Post says about you. The future of the country is at stake, and right now, the country is losing.

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                  1. Squeeky,
                    I believe the average person is utilitarian by nature; Democrats, Republicans, whatever are merely tribes that people believe support their utilitarian desires. In my opinion most don’t care about the means as long as the ends are what they get. This is the state of politics today and the true adversary to the tribes is the constitution. Here we are in a popular “legal” blog and merely invoking the rule of law gains you ridicule. For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would argue against the theory of natural rights. But in this blog, people will argue that all rights come from government. Let’s humor that argument for a moment and say that is true; what reasonable argument can be made to argue against having rights that government CANNOT take away? This would be borderline Stockholm Syndrome on an unimaginable scale. Kant explains this phenomenon in “What is Enlightenment”. He calls it “self-imposed immaturity (depending on the translation).

            2. You’re absolutely right! What have I said a gazillion times here:

              blockquote>Expecting from, or trying to explain to, Democrats- “principles”, or “right vs. wrong”,
              or “rules”, or “logical consistency”, is like trying to explain to a bad, cheating, folding metal
              chair-using wrestler why he didn’t win the WWF Belt fairly. He is simply not able to comprehend what
              you are complaining about.

              All he knows is, that he won the match and the belt! The fact that his girl friend jumped into the ring
              when the referee wasn’t looking, and whomped the good wrestler over the head with a folding metal chair,
              knocking him unconscious- – -well, really what difference at this point does that make???
              After all, he won! He has the championship belt! Isn’t that all that matters??? Frankly, he just doesn’t
              give a hoot about the morality of the whole thing. All he cares about, is getting what he wants. Period.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

        1. Sooo, you have a problem with the people who broke the story, and you don’t have a problem with the people (NYT and Bloomberg) who sat on the story???

          You live in a strange world, dude.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

    1. Remind us…..wasn’t it Obama who propped up Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood taking power in Egypt?

  6. It is solely in Fox News and you believe it?

    The more fool you.

    Faux Neuz.

          1. He must have gotten word that the sh*t was going to hit, so he flew off to spend the next month or so alone on a remote island in French Polynesia near Tahiti. All of his operatives in the MSM have kicked into cover-up mode working feverishly on his behalf. Meanwhile Valerie Jarrett moved into his rental mansion in Washigton DC and not one reporter finds it curious enough to ask about or report on. And remember, Obama learns about everything that happens in his administration from the news reports. He’s just an innocent bystander.

            1. 😂 Unbelievable! When they say “truth is stranger than fiction” they were correct!

        1. All the “MoveOn” emails that have been sent to overthrow President Trump, say to push for an “independent” investigation. I’m assuming that equates to some of the “impartial” Judges the Democrats want instead of Justice Gorsuch. No thank you!

  7. And the usual hysterical pants wetters are out in force…

    No facts in public yet shrieking for convictions while foaming at the mouth…

    The libruls! The libruls! The libruls! The libruls! The libruls! The libruls! The libruls! The libruls!

    Gee… as a senior national security advisor, she MIGHT have had good reason to need to know whom RUSSIANS and other foreigners were talking to… just maybe… perhaps her position gave her the authority to PROPERLY request the unmasking…

    But we don’t know that… yet it doesn’t stop nitwits from screaming about CONVICTING OBUMMER w/out ANY PROOF whatsoever…

    Ah… that rich, musky odor of the overused restroom on a hot summer’s day…

    I’d say you loon are funny… but you’re not…

  8. I’m not sure why people expect an unconventional President to act conventional? Unless you are a complete tool for the establishment politicians, it is perfectly reasonable to use unconventional methods to expose the corruption in government, as that corruption has now become conventional. I’m done with the destructive “statesman” that eloquently lies. Instead, I’ll take this bull in the china shop as long as he keeps exposing the entire progressive apparatus destroying this country.

      1. thats funny, because none of those protections were ever in place to begin with. so all 8 years of Obama, ISPs could do the same thing you are claiming Trump has allowed.

        1. You might as well be working for the data collection industry. Anon may be overly zealous about Demwits the way you drag your tongue on the floor for Rethugs, but he/she is nonetheless absolutely correct that Trump and the Republicans missed an excellent opportunity to convert a poison pill left on purpose by Obama (he knew damn well Republicans would sell out to the ISPs) into a great example of Trumps’ biggest campaign promise; to clean the swamp. Republicans fell for it hook line and stinker, choosing, as usual, their pockets over the privacy rights of their constituents.

          Don’t get me wrong. Demwits aren’t any better, if their vote was going to count, they would have voted in favor of ISPs continuing to trash privacy rights in a heart beat, but being equally corrupt is hardly a ringing endorsement for your tribe and it’s just one more event that makes the gushing Trump accolades on the subject of swamp cleaning look utterly ridiculous.



      2. They already sell ISP information–linked to name, mailing address and telephone numbers! Geez, been under a rock, anon?

    1. In complete agreement there. Obama and his minions had an agenda and continued to carry it out for eight years. The minions tried to “pull the wool over our eyes” with their deceits. People who support this kind of crap need to examine their morals because it was veiled evil.

  9. Obama must be criminally prosecuted for this.

    Dont forget this either

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