Remember when President Trump railed against President Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice for ‘unmasking’ members of his team? And, remember how he referred to it as spying by the Obama administration?
Well, just one month after this news broke, Trump’s own National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster sent a letter to Rice’s home saying her top-secret security clearance would remain unfettered and was perfectly alright. He saw nothing wrong with her actions.
According to two Senior West Wing officials and an intelligence official, Trump was not aware of the letter or McMasters decision, potentially complicating problems for Trump politically.
Per the letter:
“I hereby waive the requirement that you must have a ‘need-to-know’ to access any classified information contained in items you ‘originated, reviewed, signed or received while serving,’ as National Security Adviser.
The NSC will continue to work with you to ensure the appropriate security clearance documentation remains on file to allow you access to classified information.”
So, Trump’s National Security Advisor is agreeing that Trump was peddling ‘fake news.’ It was one big nothing burger President Trump and his team (as well as Fox News) harped on to deflect from the Russian investigation and try and place blame elsewhere.
“Basically, this letter which was signed in the last week of April undercuts the president’s assertion that Susan Rice’s unmasking activity was inappropriate. In essence, anybody who committed a violation as she did would not be given access to classified information,” said a senior West Wing official, who was shown the document by Circa and verified its authenticity. “In fact, they would have their security clearance and right to ‘need-to-know’ stripped.”
“This memo McMaster sent to Rice makes it so that she doesn’t have to prove a continuing ‘need-to-know’ to have access to classified information and in effect is a White House pardon of Susan Rice and could be used by other Obama officials who conducted targeted unmasking of the campaign as a defense,” the official added.
The White House has not responded to requests for comment.