After months of pushing the “Trump is a Putin stooge” fantasy, Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) have seen it blown up in their faces as an “Obama was using the national security apparatus to spy on his political opponents” scandal.
Andrew McCarthy on the scale of the scandal:
In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA. All three agencies conducted a probe and issued a joint report in January. That was after Obama, despite having previously acknowledged that the Russian activity was inconsequential, suddenly made a great show of ordering an inquiry and issuing sanctions. Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies. And if it had been critical to know the identities of Americans caught up in other foreign intelligence efforts, the agencies that collect the information and conduct investigations would have unmasked it. Because they are the agencies that collect and refine intelligence “products” for the rest of the “intelligence community,” they are responsible for any unmasking; and they do it under “minimization” standards that FBI Director James Comey, in recent congressional testimony, described as “obsessive” in their determination to protect the identities and privacy of Americans. Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an intelligence need based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies. The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.
It appears very likely that Susan Rice was involved in the unmasking of Michael Flynn. Was she also monitoring the FBI’s investigation? Was she involved in the administration’s consideration of (bogus) criminal charges against Flynn? With the subsequent decision to have the FBI interrogate Flynn (or “grill” him, as the Times put it)? The second point is that, while not a pillar of rectitude, Ms. Rice is not an idiot. Besides being shrewd, she was a highly involved, highly informed consumer of intelligence, and a key Obama political collaborator. Unlike the casual reader, she would have known who the Trump-team players were without needing to have their identities unmasked. Do you really think her purpose in demanding that names be revealed was to enhance her understanding of intelligence about the activities and intentions of foreign targets? Seriously? I’m betting it was so that others down the dissemination chain could see the names of Trump associates — names the investigating agencies that originally collected the information had determined not to unmask.
In publishing the illegally leaked classified information about former national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the New York Times informs us that “Obama advisers” and “Obama officials” were up to their eyeballs in the investigation.
Susan Rice has conspicuously not denied unmasking Trump associates.
McCarthy also notes that Obama had the rules on unmasking changed late in his presidency so more people could be unmasked. How convenient.
It doesn’t help her cause that Rice’s own story has changed. “Back then Rice responded to allegations that the Obama administration was surveilling members of Trump’s camp for strategic gain by pleading ignorance. Hedging her bets after new reports from Bloomberg and the Daily Caller, Rice now says that any unmasking of identities was ‘absolutely not for any political purposes, to spy, to expose or anything.'”
The mainstream media, of course, is doing its lockstep best to avoid or downplay the scandal. “Notice they’re not calling it fake news. They’re not calling it untrue. They’re not labeling it made-up. They’re not saying that it isn’t accurate. They’re saying it’s unimportant. And, strictly speaking, their objectives being to get rid of Donald Trump, it is unimportant, and it is not helpful, and it is not useful.”
Also amazing is the speed with which the scandal has gone from “fake” to “real but not a scandal” among Obama’s defenders. “One minute it’s ridiculous to think that the Obama administration was doing surveillance on the Trump campaign. The next minute the Obama administration was doing the right thing if it did surveillance on the Trump campaign.”
The scandal also reminds us, yet again, of the incestuous relationship between the Democratic Party and the media, who are as intertwined as the Habsburgs and the Buorbons.
The scandal reminds us that former ABC news producer Ian Cameron is married to Rice, and yet was still working at ABC well into the Obama Administration.
Another thing the scandal reminded us was that CNN’s Jim Sciutto used to work for the Obama Administration. CNN being the network that hired Valerie Jarrett’s daughter to report on Trump.
Still another thing the scandal reminded us, yet again, that Maggie Haberman of the New York Times is a Clinton shill.
Trump won the presidency partially because he promised to “drain the swamp.” The unmasking scandal displays, yet again, just how badly the Democrat Media Complex swamp needs to be drained.