Trump Picks Strategy To Counter Russia Storyline: Blame Susan Rice

Apr 10, 2017, 01:01
Trump Picks Strategy To Counter Russia Storyline: Blame Susan Rice

President Trump hosted King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House, told the New York Times he thought former National Security Adviser Susan Rice had committed a crime and was scheduled to speak with the leaders of Germany and Japan.

Trump would not say if he reviewed new intelligence to support his claim. The national security advisor is not a law enforcement position and therefore does not have the authority to engage in domestic investigatory efforts, especially those that violate the constitutional rights of American citizens who were not legally valid targets of intelligence collection operations.

Such requests, which a number of senior officials are authorized to make, trigger a legal and intelligence review by the agency to determine whether revealing the name has potential intelligence value and could expose a security threat to the United States, said one of the officials, who is familiar with the process and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal intelligence procedures.

Flynn's identity in transcripts of surveilled calls would likely not have been masked because as the national security adviser-designate, he would have been considered a high-level official who would not given the presumption of privacy.

The dispute revolves around so-called "incidental collection"- when US intelligence agencies inadvertently pick up the names or conversations of USA persons on wiretaps or other communications intercepts. Rice says it's "absolutely false" that the previous administration used intelligence about President Donald Trump's associates for political purposes. No reports so far have suggested that Rice broke the law by requesting the unmasking, which has been described as a routine intelligence procedure, and the president didn't offer new evidence that she had.

But when the dust settled, Republicans did reach ground on which they feel comfortable standing: Trump and his aides apparently were swept up in legal USA surveillance of foreign targets during the transition.

He continued,"It's such an important story for our country and the world".

During the Times interview, Trump called out that newspaper and other media outlets for what he said was a failure to cover the Rice story this week.

"He's a person I know well - he is a good person", Trump said.

Rice, in the Trump construction, may have masterminded a Richard Nixon-like campaign of spying on Obama's political opponents, one that stretched back years before the presidential transition in which she has been accused.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer cast Rice's handling of intelligence in the waning days of Obama's term as suspicious, although he did not detail what he found to be inappropriate.

Leaking classified information can be a criminal offense, which Rice denied doing - "I leaked nothing to nobody", she told MSNBC. While it was legal for her to do this, it was highly unethical and would be a huge scandal if a Republican senior official sought the names of Democratic political opponents from US intelligence reports.

The list reportedly revealed the names of individuals tightly-affiliated with Trump, including the names of people related to Trump. "She [was] a White House staffer, not a member of an intelligence agency".

The U.S. routinely monitors the communications of foreigners.