‘My job is to protect the people’: Susan Rice denies unmasking Trump operatives for political reasons
Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Tuesday denied that she leaked any information about former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Rice explained that the process of unmasking Americans swept up in surveillance collected by American intelligence agencies was a common procedure, and that she didn’t request the identities of Trump administration officials who were talking with Russian intelligence officials for political reasons
“I was the national security adviser, my job is to protect the American people and the security of our country,” she explained. “To enable us to do that, we receive, from the intelligence community, a compilation of intelligence reports that the intelligence community has selected for us on a daily basis to give us the best information as to what is going on around the world. I received those reports as did each of the other officials, and there were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to. Name not provided, just “U.S. person.” And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information as to who the U.S. official was.”
Rice also noted that the intelligence community didn’t have to unmask anyone at her request, and had the power to deny her requests if it didn’t believe she had a legitimate reason related to national security.
When asked if she leaked information about Flynn talking with Russian officials about lifting sanctions, Rice flatly denied it.
“I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have and never would,” she said.
Rice also denied allegations that she created a spreadsheet of names of all Trump transition officials who were caught up in incidental surveillance. Additionally, Rice denied knowing that Flynn was working on behalf of the Turkish government while he was advising the Trump campaign in 2016.
Watch the interview below.