Susan Rice Fights Back

“I leaked nothing to nobody—and never would.”

ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Tuesday strongly rejected allegations that she improperly requested the “unmasking” of the identities of Trump associates whose communications were picked up in surveillance conducted by US intelligence.

“The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes,” Rice told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “That’s absolutely false.”

Rice’s statement on Tuesday follows a report published in Bloomberg View Monday, citing anonymous intelligence officials who said that Rice requested the identities of certain Americans who were referenced in intelligence reports related to the Trump team. The identities of private US citizens are normally anonymized when they appear in intelligence reports about surveillance of foreign targets, but in certain cases, officials can ask for them to be revealed in order to provide greater context. Rice described this process as “longstanding” and “established,” but she said she could not discuss any specific unmasking that may have occurred. 

The Bloomberg report landed amid President Donald Trump’s continued accusations that former President Barack Obama—Rice’s boss at the time—ordered illegal wiretapping of Trump and his associates during the 2016 election. Bloomberg noted that there is “no evidence to support that claim” and that Rice’s alleged “unmasking requests were likely within the law.”

Still, conservative media outlets and lawmakers have since jumped on the story as evidence of Trump’s assertions.

On MSNBC, Rice provided an in-depth explanation of the unmasking process, and argued that the previous administration’s actions were proper. “We’d only do it to protect the American people, to do our jobs in the national security realm,” Rice said. “That’s the only reason.”

When asked whether she leaked information from the intelligence reports to the public, Rice categorically denied the charge.

“There’s no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking,” she said. “The effort to ask for the identity of the American citizen is necessary to understand the importance of an intelligence report in some instances.”

“I leaked nothing to nobody—and never would,” said Rice.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate