BREAKING. Susan Rice Talks About White House Surveillance of Trump Team (VIDEO)

Susan Rice just gave an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and it was as notable for carefully crafted answers as anything else.

To review the bidding, the allegation is that Susan Rice carried out an extensive review of contacts between Trump campaign and transition officials who had been caught up in “incidental” surveillance of plausibly valid intelligence targets. She had then asked for the identities of these people to be unmasked. Once the identities of the individuals were unmasked, the subsequent analytic product was disseminated widely across the government increasing the numbers of people who would see it and possibly leak it.

Working without a transcript is seems like her interview is rather Bart-Simpson-esque, “I didn’t do it, you didn’t see me, you can’t prove it.” What follows is culled from the @MSNBC twitter feed.

Indeed, we do but that has nothing at all to do with the subsidiary issue of to what degree the Obama administration weaponized our intelligence services, just like it did the IRS and Department of Justice, as tools of partisan politics.

This is the crux of the matter. Her statement is nebulous but it is not a denial that it happened. She can plausibly claim that confirming members of the Trump campaign and transition team were caught in surveillance is a security violation.

I’m sort of surprised this is kicking around in this particular form this long after the fact, but until we know who was under surveillance “incidentally” we won’t be able to evaluate the scope of the surveillance directed at the Trump campaign and at the transition team.

Talk about a non-sequitur. Flynn’s status under FARA may or may not end up being significant. As no one has been successfully prosecuted under FARA since 1968, I’m guessing “not.” It is hard to see what this reveals other than intercepts from Turkish officials were not among those scrutinized by Rice for Trump campaign contacts.


At this point, the allegation is not that Rice was the leaker. In fact, I think it very doubtful that she was. Were I pointing fingers I’d start pointing them at the White House staffer whose brother is head of CBS news and who has used his brother to run interference for the administration in the past. The correct frame of what we’re talking about I believe is that Rice unmasked the identities and saw to it that the surveillance product, with unmasked names, was widely distributed within the US government. There was undoubtedly an expectation that it would be leaked.

Susan Rice is an inveterate liar. Not a week ago she denied knowing anything at all about unmasking of protected identities. During Benghazi, she appeared on all five Sunday shows and lied through her teeth on each one.

This interview doesn’t move the ball forward all that much. Rice is not denying that surveillance took place. I would argue that her denial of the Daily Caller’s story from earlier today concerning spreadsheets with data concerning intercepts should be viewed as her denying that a spreadsheet, per se, was used. What she is denying is that the surveillance was inappropriate. This word, itself, should give us pause because the White House did spy on members of Congress opposed to the Iran deal and did it in a way, similar to the Trump allegations, that was plausibly legal. And she is denying that she is the leaker.