Susan Rice Hijacked Secret Intel for Scorched Earth Attack on Trump

Did Rice commit felonies, or just assist in a Watergate-level abuse of power?

By John Zmirak Published on April 6, 2017

Imagine if the outgoing George W. Bush White House, in late 2008, had waged a scorched earth campaign against Obama. If it used legal loopholes, diverted foreign intelligence, and planted leaks in the media to sabotage the incoming administration.

What if Bush’s team had scoured foreign intel collected to keep an eye on foreign powers, for dirt to use in taking down Obama’s cabinet appointees?

What if Bush’s team had scoured foreign intel collected to keep an eye on foreign powers, for dirt to use in taking down Obama’s cabinet appointees? Suppose that its leaks actually forced one of Obama’s choices out of the cabinet? Even though there was zero evidence of wrongdoing on his part?

Obama’s Scorched Earth Strategy

All of the above, of course, occurred on Obama’s watch. It was aimed at Trump. Newly chosen National Security Advisor Michael General Flynn had innocent conversations with Russian officials. Just so, Obama appointees spoke with foreign officials during his transition. It’s normal. In fact, it’s wise.

But Flynn’s identity was “unmasked” by the Obama White House. Obama claimed, suddenly, to be concerned about “Russian interference” in American politics. His appointees disseminated Flynn’s name through every intelligence agency. Obama supporters ensconced in the “Deep State” duly leaked it. The Russia-bashing media frenzy (and Flynn’s dumb decision to lie about harmless behavior) led to Flynn’s resignation.

Democrats would rightly have damned Bush for doing something like that. They’d have used a long list of epithets. “Racist” would have been one of them, but that would simply be hand-waving. “Partisan” would come closer to the mark. So would “reckless.” Such leaking provoked a foreign power — and perhaps compromised our intelligence gathering methods. All for a cheap political purpose. “Illegal” might make the list.

Perverting Foreign Intel for Domestic Politicking

Andrew McCarthy offers a brilliant twopart legal analysis of Susan Rice’s behavior in the dying days of Obama’s White House. He suspects that it might have stayed within the letter of the law. But he calls it a blatant “abuse of power.” Indeed, he compares the actions of Obama’s staff  to Watergate. That’s the last time the White House abused its power this badly for crass political reasons.  

As George Neumayr bluntly explains what happened:

The FBI probed the computer server connected to Trump Tower, while [Susan Rice], Brennan, and the other Obama aides rifled through unmasked intercepts and transcripts of foreigners with whom he and his team were talking.

Then, according to McCarthy:

[O]fficials like Susan Rice had names unmasked that would not ordinarily be unmasked. That information was then being pushed widely throughout the intelligence community in unmasked form . . . particularly after Obama, toward the end of his presidency, suddenly — and seemingly apropos of nothing — changed the rules so that all of the intelligence agencies (not just the collecting agencies) could have access to raw intelligence information.

As we know, the community of intelligence agencies leaks like a sieve, and the more access there is to juicy information, the more leaks there are.

And so our incoming president was denied his first choice for National Security Advisor. Again, imagine how the media would have reacted if Bush had done this to Obama.

Why We “Mask” Americans’ Identities

As McCarthy points out, it’s the FBI, not the White House, that investigates Americans. When the CIA or NSA gathers intel on foreign parties, and it includes American citizens, their names are supposed to be “masked.” If that weren’t the case, then both those agencies would essentially be acting like the East German Stasi.

That would scare enough Americans into hobbling those agencies, endangering our security. So those agencies don’t expose non-criminal behavior they discover about Americans in the course of spying on foreigners.

The White House can ask for such names to be unmasked for a good, governmental reason. But as Neumayr points out, there was no such reason here. It was blatant power politics. And so far it seems to be working.

An Act of Political Sabotage

Another word comes to mind to describe the behavior of the Obama White House: “Unpatriotic.” It is unpatriotic to do things like this.

Another word comes to mind to describe the behavior of the Obama White House: “Unpatriotic.”

You might think the new administration that is coming into the White House is deeply wrong-headed. But you don’t commit acts of sabotage against it. You don’t plant viruses in all the White House computers, or delete all the files at the State Department. You don’t share government secrets with China or North Korea, either.

And you don’t conduct a campaign of character assassination against your successors, using foreign intel that was never meant to reveal the name of a single U.S. citizen.

Such a crass and self-serving abuse of power probably shouldn’t surprise us. After all, it was the Obama administration, with Susan Rice’s active help, that blamed an al Qaeda attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on some Coptic guy’s online anti-Muslim video. That filmmaker went to prison for a year on trumped-up charges, and his life was left in ruins.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when the powerful get reckless, and the media help them to get away with it. It’s not what’s supposed to happen in a free country under the rule of law.

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