Allegations by President Donald Trump and his associates cast at Susan Rice, the former national security adviser. He declared she executed a crime when asking to disclose names of Trump’s allies that were part of a foreign investigation. This revealed a little-known term known as “unmasking.” Obama’s national security adviser was accused, by Trump, of committing a crime in an April 5, 2017, New York Times interview.
Although Trump refused to comment on what exact crime he thinks Rice executed, he intimated that it had to do with her unmasking names that led to the leak of identities. Evidently, Trump is lashing out at her with regards to ongoing inquiries concerning Russian meddling with the U.S. presidential election.
Accusations of Unmasking Leads to Condemning Rice
The accusation against Rice brings to light the question: What is unmasking? Remarks began on Wednesday, March 22, when Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, held a press conference. During which he stated, he had confidential information accusing Obama’s administration of wrongly leaking the identities of officials on Trump’s transition team.
On numerous occasions the Intelligence Community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.
Leading up to the Nunes press conference were unfounded allegations, by Trump, that Obama had him wiretapped. Trump had tweeted up a storm on Saturday, March 4, alleging his predecessor had his Trump Tower home wiretapped to listen in on him while campaigning. Upon no discovery of evidence, Trump’s allegations were discredited by both James Comey, director of the FBI, and Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency.
It was later learned that the so-called classified source who reported the evidence to Nunes, was the current president. Backtracking a bit, Nunes did comment that although the unmasking occurred, he believed it to be from legal investigations that involved communication between foreigners under U.S. inquiry and Trump transition members.
Rice is caught up in the unfounded allegation,s because Trump and his associates are accusing her of unmasking identities. Trump is supposedly condemning Rice for illegally leaking confidential names that resulted in broken trust of the people. This brings to light the question of unmasking.
The Rice Charge Opens Question: What Is Unmasking?
Ahead of the Trump interview, Rice spoke out, in her defense, on Tuesday, April 4, to MSNBC, totally denying any wrongdoing. She explained the process in which there were times when an intelligence report regarding foreigners referenced a U.S. citizen. Then, she would request the identity of that person, in order to fully understand the context of the report.
The allegation is that somehow the Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes, that’s absolutely false.
Rice specifically brings to light that she did not conspire to release the names stating, she never revealed the name of Mike Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. Flynn resigned following the public revelation of his communications with officials from Russia.
Rice made note of a U.S. citizen, referenced in a report, stating it is common practice to protect American identities when U.S. intelligence agencies do recognizance to spy on foreign agents. If it is determined the information gathered is of no importance, then it is destroyed. On the other hand, there are times when is is allowable to unmask a person. Not just anyone can attain the name in an intelligence report, and those who want a name revealed must make a formal request to gain approval.
Rice, as national security adviser had the authority to request a person’s name if needed. A U.S. citizen’s name can be legally obtained if it is already available to the public. Correspondingly, an identity may be released if it is deemed necessary to comprehend information about foreign intelligence, or if the citizen could be a spy acting for a foreign interest. The Trump administration is lobbing espionage allegations against the former president and his administration, and it has brought Rice into question with her response to the unmasking issue.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Jeanette Smith
The New York Times: Partial Transcript: Trump’s Interview With The Times
USA Today: What is ‘unmasking?’ How intelligence agencies treat U.S. citizens
The Atlantic: What Devin Nunes’s Bombshell Does and Doesn’t Say
NBC News: Susan Rice Speaks Out on ‘Unmasking’ Accusations: ‘I Leaked Nothing to Nobody’
ABC News: What you need to know about Susan Rice and the unmasking controversy
Featured and Top Image by Sgt. 1st Class Joel Quebec Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License