Susan Rice, the former US National Security Advisor for the Obama administration, has suggested in a new interview that race and gender may have played a part in her scrutiny since the Benghazi controversy. In the New York Magazine interview with Michael Tomasky, Rice asked why the scrutiny didn’t focus on Jay Carney, who served as Press Secretary.
Tomasky commented that Carney was not a woman and an African American, and asked whether Rice believed that it could be a reason she faced more scrutiny. Rice said that while she didn’t want to “leap to the simple explanation that it’s only about race and gender,” she did say that she wanted to keep her theories about why she remained the focus to herself. She said that she is not yet ready to come forward about her theories, and that it’s not because she doesn’t have any.
During the interview, Rice also mentioned female figures who she claimed were the focus of “ad hominem attacks,” including Condoleezza Rice (Secretary of State under the Bush administration) and Hillary Clinton. Fox News reported on a Republican source in Capitol Hill who pushed back on the claims. The source claimed that Rice was “screaming out for attention” and asked “why would there be a subpoena for a white male?” referencing the fact that Rice is not the only focus of the unmasking probe.
What is the Unmasking Probe?
The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas earlier this year, as a part of an investigation into the potentially illegal use of the US government’s power to collect foreign intelligence under the Obama administration. Whether the US government overreached and used these powers to monitor American citizens connected to the Trump campaign and transition team is being explored.
In the subpoenas, the House Intelligence Committee requested all information relating to any unmasking requests by the Ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama, Samantha Power. The term “unmasking” refers to intelligence reports that reveal anyone whose communications have been intercepted during the process of collection foreign intelligence.
Ruffling Feathers in Congress
Congressional leaders are showing their frustration with the progress of the unmasking probe, including Senator Lindsey Graham. The former Republican presidential candidate had a heated exchange during a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday this week, when he explained that he still hasn’t been told whether his own communications had been intercepted by the government. He asked an intelligence community lawyer whether he will get a response in his lifetime.
On March 22, Rice told Judy Woodruff during a PBS interview that she didn’t know anything about any unmasking of associates of Trump. Some weeks later during an MSNBC interview, however, she did admit that that at times the identity of Trump associates who had connections to foreign officials were sought out. She stressed, however, that she “leaked nothing to nobody.”
Unmasking Documents Sealed in Obama Presidential Library
Records and documents relating to the surveillance of American citizens by Susan Rice, including members of Trump’s campaign and transition team, have been sealed and stored in the Barack Obama Presidential Library. The sealing means that they will be inaccessible to the general public for five years, as per the Presidential Records Act.
Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch told Fox & Friends that he had received a letter which requested that all their material relating to Susan Rice’s unmasking of American citizens, as well as the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer systems, be handed over to the library.