It doesn't have the ring of "Benghazi," or "Whitewater," but Republicans are seizing upon what they see as a new scandal: "Improper unmasking."
"Now we know that someone in the Obama administration was eavesdropping and specifically searching a databank looking for the Trump (people)," Sen. Rand Paul proclaimed Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
In fact, there is no evidence of that.
Senior Obama administration officials don't dispute that Rice requested the "unmasking" of certain Americans whose names appeared in intelligence reports resulting from eavesdropping on foreigners — meaning the foreigners were discussing the Americans or talking to them. Usually, those names are blacked out. But the blackout can be lifted if doing so is necessary to help understand the intelligence.
Requesting that is a routine thing for national security advisers to do, according to former senior officials, including Keith Alexander, who directed the National Security Agency.
Rice didn't and couldn't "order" the unmasking of any American, current and former officials say. The agencies that hold the raw surveillance transcripts — usually the NSA or the FBI — make that decision. It's a process subject to rules and reviewed by lawyers, and it has to be justified by an intelligence purpose.
It should be noted that a request to unmask one of these names only reveals that name to the person making the request, it does NOT make the name public.
And to be clear if Rice did make this request it was only because she was doing her job, and NOT because she was necessarily targeting Donald Trump and his associates.
However considering what we have learned since the election I am pretty upset that she WASN'T targeting Trump and his associates.
For her part Rice says she had nothing to do with the names becoming public:
“I leaked nothing to nobody,” she said.
By the way the person who supposedly "broke" this scandalous story was Mike Cernovich famous for his role in spreading the Pizzagate story.
Donald Trump Jr. is so impressed with his work that he is suggesting that he receive a Pulitzer.
Thought I was kidding didn't you?Congrats to @Cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story. In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he'd win the Pulitzer, but not today!— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 4, 2017
Clearly this is just more obfuscation on the part of the Trump team, much like their suggestion that the real scandal is not that they have so many ties to the Russians who hacked our election, but that the information concerning that fact was leaked to the media.
Attack the media, attack the leakers, and attack the intelligence professionals conducting the investigation.
Richard Nixon would be VERY proud.
Update: Here is a little more on this Mike Cernovich douche nozzle.
Gee, I can't imagine why he does not have a Pulitzer already.This is the guy the White House is promoting today, in case for a second you thought this wasn't all a dumpster fire. pic.twitter.com/iiVdxPWLBf— Kyle Foley (@KFoleyFL) April 4, 2017