Flashback: Susan Rice Denied Knowing Anything About Surveilling Trump Transition Team

susan rice
Associated Press

Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice denied knowing anything about the Obama administration surveilling members of the Trump transition team in a March 2017 interview, which has been proved false by recently declassified documents.

In a PBS Newshour interview on March 22, 2017, host Judy Woodruff asked Rice:

I began by asking about the allegations leveled today by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that Trump transition officials, including the president, may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration.

Rice responded:

I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.

Nunes had said at a press conference earlier that day:

I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the President-elect and his team were I guess at least monitored and disseminated out in intelligence, in what appears to be…intelligence reporting channels. … It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the President-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.

Recently declassified documents show that Rice did know that the Obama administration was surveilling incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

A recently fully-declassified email Rice sent herself on January 20, 2017, showed that then-President Obama met with his top advisers on January 5, 2017, and discussed an FBI investigation into Flynn and surveilling Flynn’s conversations with a Russian ambassador.

Her email said, “Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding ‘by the book’ as it relates to law enforcement. From a national security perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information. President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied, ‘potentially.’ He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’”


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