The Former Obama administration’s National Security advisor Susan Rice told the House Intelligence Committee that she indeed requested the identities of numerous Trump transition aides.
Testifying before a closed session of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Susan Rice admitted that she asked the U.S. Intelligence agencies for the names of dozens of Trump advisers to be unmasked. She wanted the names to be revealed and unmasked from surveillance audio transcripts that was obtained by the electronic intercepting of communications between three of the senior Trump aides and a UAE official who was present in the US for an informal visit.
The three officials included then-candidate Trump’s national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; presidential campaign chief executive Steve Bannon; and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, according to CNN.
The details of Rice’s testimony were made public on September 14th, and are especially damning – as they contradict her earlier assertions that she had no knowledge of unmasking of any Americans. In March during a TV interview she stated, “I know nothing about this.”
Erin Pelton, Rice’s spokeswoman, denied the allegations against Rice, denouncing them as “entirely false.” She went on to say, “there is nothing improper, unusual, or political about such requests, nor do such requests bear any relationship to the unfounded and debunked allegations that the Obama White House ordered the surveillance of any U.S. persons.”
The Rice testimony included questions that were based on documents provided to Congress by the FBI, National Security Council, and CIA listing the requests for unmasking the identities of Americans personally made by Rice while she was the White House National Security Adviser. The committee requested all those records in May.
The Committee now plans to question former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and former CIA Director John Brennan, who also were listed by the intelligence agency documents as having made what the committee regards as suspicious unmasking requests related to Trump campaign officials. And is also said to be interested in questioning Ben Rhodes, the Obama White House deputy national security adviser.
Rep. Mike Conway (R-TX) now chairs the ethics probe into Rice’s behavior, after Rep. Devin Nunes was forced to step down. However, Conway was satisfied with the answers the committee received from Rice and is, “now aware of any reason to bring her back” to testify again.