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Surveillance Hidden in Plain Sight: Susan Rice Leads the Effort to Unmask The Trump Administration


Jay Sekulow

April 4, 2017

5 min read

National Security



There are new developments every day providing more facts concerning whether members of the Obama Administration, actively colluding with both the government bureaucracy and compliant members of the media, have engaged in a crusade to delegitimize the incoming administration. 

Here's what we know. First, the Trump transition team was caught up in surveillance conducted by the Obama Administration. Second someone in the Obama Administration unmasked the names of those on the Trump transition team who were caught up in that surveillance. Third, in its final days, the Obama Administration changed the rules in order to widely disseminate this information. Fourth, the deep state bureaucracy leaked this information to the media. Now we know who was responsible for starting this process.

Two new developments in the last 24 hours require the attention of every American concerned with the rule of law.

First, former National Security Adviser to former President Obama, Susan Rice was at the center of a deliberate effort to first review and then unmask the identities of individuals in President-elect Trump’s circle of advisors, campaign, and transition team, as a consequence of surveillance, which apparently arose out of eavesdropping within the meaning of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. This conduct appears to have led to the dissemination and leaking of classified information. This surveillance effort commenced possibly as early as July 2016 and, at Rice’s requests, continued through the transition period leading up to President Trump’s inauguration. 

Second, since Ms. Rice told PBS on March 22, 2017 that she was ignorant of matters relating to the surveillance of the Trump team, the new revelation of her active involvement in reviewing Trump-related surveillance strengthens Ms. Rice’s well-earned reputation as an individual who is a stranger to the truth. 

Although in an interview earlier today, Susan Rice denied unmasking Trump and his associates for political purposes, her denial stands in stark contrast with her claim that she was ignorant of surveillance efforts in the first place. Indeed, National Security Council computer logs directly contradict her claims that she was ignorant of surveillance efforts. Instead, the record shows that she requested and viewed records that included President Trump and/or his campaign staff’s names on many occasions. Her less-than-sterling reputation has rightly suffered from her now debunked claim that the Benghazi attack of 2012 was caused by a video rather than the result of a terrorist attack.

Susan Rice’s effort to unmask the identities of members of the Trump team in combination with revelations provided by Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama Administration Defense Department official who urged her former colleagues and others to disseminate intelligence information on Trump before Obama left office, confirm that members of the shadow government are doing everything in their power to delegitimize the incoming Trump Administration and to protect the Obama legacy.

While Susan Rice has now denied unmasking Trump and his associates for political purposes, the Washington Examiner reports that the unmasked conversations involving Trump and his associates arguably contained valuable political information on the Trump transition. Consistent with this conclusion, Rice reportedly increased the volume of her request to review surveillance material after the presidential election.

Other reports indicate that Susan Rice also examined dozens of other intelligence summaries that technically masked Trump official identities but which were written in such a way as to make obvious who those officials were. This signifies that government officials participated in a deliberate unmasking campaign coupled with an intentional effort to enable them to deny that Trump officials were targeted. Still another report indicates that “somebody blew a hole in the wall between national security secrets and partisan politics.” In other words, we have deceit and fabrication all the way down. 

To be fair to Susan Rice as well as her inability to tell the truth and matchless hubris, there are a number of benefits associated with her misconduct.  Evidently, the documents she reviewed had nothing to do with Russia or the FBI investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump camp. This gives rise to the inference that  these unmasking decisions had nothing to do with national security and may have been purely politically motivated.

Second, this story appears to answer any lingering questions about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes’s claims that the Trump campaign was the subject of surveillance.

Third, this story indicates that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who approved changes to Executive Order 12333 facilitating the spread of raw signals intelligence throughout the intel community just days before Obama left office, Susan Rice, and Evelyn Farkas should be subject to extremely vigorous interrogation. They all need to answer questions before a grand jury of their peers. The leaders of such an investigation should decline to grant immunity unless it leads to a conviction.

The American Center for Law and Justice will continue to monitor the latest lies from Susan Rice and will, where appropriate, initiate Freedom of Information Requests to get to the bottom of this situation. Misconduct by federal government officials calculated to subvert the Constitution to their own political and ideological agenda must end now. Whether this misconduct was accomplished through the unmasking of sensitive information, the dissemination of raw intelligence signals information, or the leaking of classified information by bureaucrats who owe their primary allegiance to the shadow government as opposed to the Constitution, all individuals involved in this effort must be subjected to a vigorous and impartial investigation. Individuals who violate our laws must be brought to justice swiftly.

We will not rest in our efforts to do just that.

This was co-written by ACLJ Director of Policy Harry Hutchison.


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