By John Gibson
Susan Rice is the person in the mystery novel who leaves a door unlocked so the hit team has access to the castle. Her finger prints are all over the open lock hanging limp on the door knob.
Reporting from Eli Lake at Bloomberg and Adam Housley at Fox News establish a bankable and important fact: an Obama official very close to the former President asked for the names of Americans to be unmasked in intelligence reports. The official was National Security Adviser Susan Rice and the Americans were President Elect Donald Trump and his associates.
Naturally, the question--posed with echoes of Nixon on Fox news by former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton--"what did the President (Obama) know and when did he know it?"
Considering Rice has lied about the Trump unmasking (on PBS), expected denials that she would have passed on the unmasked names should be taken in the same spirit as we now take her claim to five Sunday morning political talk shows that the Benghazi attacks were the result of a protest over a Youtube video. Senator Lindsey Graham noted she has a history of misleading. Translation: hey, she lies.
The next question up--just to close the net around her--is whether unmasked reports directed to her were passed on, or were in some other way viewable by the government's other sixteen intelligence agencies, or committees on Capitol Hill overseeing intelligence agencies.
We know from the New York Times that outgoing Obama officials decided they needed to seed the Trump intel reports in as many DC offices as possible, to insure leaks would bloom in the media. That was confirmed when former Obama Defense Department official Evelyn Farkas confessed on television to the previously reported scheme.
Is Susan Rice the headwaters of the anti-Trump Obama team leaks? Or were there others who could have also requested unmasking and that leaking of the surveillance of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn? Is her flimsy legalistic defense going to be there was a mysterious someone else in the Obama anti-Trump orbit who not only requested the unmasking but took the next step of passing the information on?
Obama alumnae are now arguing through friendly reporters that it was Susan Rice's job to know which Americans were talking to Russians, and there was nothing unusual her in her request given her position.
Well, yes. But she needed to have a valid intelligence reason to know the identities of the Americans who were talking to (or being discussed by) foreign diplomats.
Let's hear her explanation before both Intelligence Committees of the Congress.
And there is also the issue of the dissemination of the intel reports after the unmasking. Did her unmask request allow her alone to see the information, or was the request to unmask throughout the other intel agencies and Capitol Hill committees?
In other words, was Susan Rice the one who passed the illicit material around, committing the felony herself? Or did she just unlock the door and let the character assassins into the vault?