The headlines in the conservative media were gleeful this morning. The story was that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice “unmasked” the names of Trump officials who were caught up in surveillance of foreign targets. And that this somehow proves that Trump’s claims of Obama wiretapping him were true.
As the Washington Post reports, “Ordinarily, when a U.S. person shows up in such surveillance — say, talking to a Russian ambassador whose communications are being monitored — that person’s identity is blacked out in reports on the surveillance.” The Post also reports that Rice was within the law if she was in fact, the person in the administration who did so.
Except she denies doing anything improper.
“I leaked nothing to nobody,” she told MSNBC on Tuesday afternoon.
“If I saw an intelligence report that looked potentially significant … I can make that request,” Rice added of unveiling names of American citizens in intelligence reports. “That’s necessary for me to do my job.”
ABC News reports that a source in the NSA says that Rice, during the course of her official duties the former national security advisor, may have unmasked officials connected to the Trump transition team and campaign, but insisted that she would have never done so improperly.
“I’m not denying that she routinely requested the unmasking of individuals,” the source close to Rice said, adding that any instance of unmasking would have been necessary to understand the value of the intelligence being presented to her.
As per the Trump and conservative media playbook, when heat is on the Trump administration—i.e., the revelation that Jeff Sessions met with a Russian ambassador and lied to Congress about it; House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, being asked to recuse himself from investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia—something else miraculously “breaks” against the Obama administration. In the Sessions case, Trump tweets the claim that Obama wire tapped his phones; now, that Susan Rice doing her job somehow vindicates this ridiculous claim.
In both instances, there’s a “blame the black person” theme running through here.
It should also be noted that the first person who broke this “story” was, according to NBC News, Mike Cernovich, who is also known for promoting a false story that a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor was a nest of pedophiles connected to Hillary Clinton. Which obviously was a bald-faced lie.
We are no closer to the truth than we were weeks ago. But Trumpians can act like this somehow vindicates his ridiculous Tweets of Obama “wiretapping” Trump Tower and demonize a black person at the same time.
Win-win for them. Loss for democracy.