Former CIA agent Phil Mudd on CNN Tuesday walked through an explanation for why Susan Rice did nothing illegal or wrong, but completely legal and transparent.
Monday, Trump supporters and conservative media alleged that Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, had “unmasked” Trump’s associates in intelligence reports.
Co-host Chris Cuomo began Tuesday’s “New Day” by saying, “There is an intentional deception going on here.”
“Obviously, the president appropriately asks his National Security Adviser Susan Rice to look into how the government should responsibly respond,” Mudd explained. “I’ve got to judge, based on what we’ve seen in the last 24 to 48 hours that Susan Rice is getting intelligence not only how the Russians are responding to those sanctions but communications between Trump and Trump officials.”
He went on to ask rhetorically what someone would do in that instance.
“She’s responsible for implementing sanctions policy of President Obama and she sees intelligence that says Person No. 1, Person No. 1 is talking to Russian officials about the issue,” he went on. She says, ‘I have the responsibility to know who is talking to the president about the policy,’ or, ‘I’m going to go forward and unmask the names.’ Not only appropriate but it’s her responsibility to know this. This is a smoke screen. By the way, Sean Spicer knows about intelligence what I know about ballet. This is dime-a-dozen for what the national security adviser should be doing. She has got to know what people are doing to try and impede the president of the United States from implementing sanctions and she’s got to know who’s talking to the Russians. It’s that simple.”
Real Clear Politics associate editor A.B. Stoddard went on to explain that “unmasking is not wiretapping” and “unmasking is not leaking.”
CNN reporter Jim Sciutto agreed, saying that unmasking doesn’t happen with a memo or a press release, rather it happens between a senior national security official and the briefer.
“One person cannot order unmasking,” he said. “It requires intelligence community, NSA, to agree that request is material and grant that request. The other point that was made to me, these things are meticulously logged. One senior intelligence official said to me, Chris, you’ll appreciate this, they are logged like Irish baptismal records. So, you can’t do it in the dark. That’s one reason why Devin Nunes was able to go to the White House and look at the request Susan Rice made. They are meticulously logged.”
Watch the full clip below: