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Friday, June 23, 2017

 

Sealing and transfer of Susan Rice records angers House committee investigating ‘unmasking’

House intelligence committee sources say career officials at the National Security Council are slow-walking the delivery of subpoenaed records on former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice’s handling of classified information and the “unmasking” of Trump campaign workers — material from the Russian hacking probe that middle-level NSC managers claim was transferred to President Obama’s library and could “remain closed to the public for five years.”

One source, speaking only on the condition of anonymity, called the transfer curious and appeared to reflect an effort by former administration officials to obscure evidence on whether Ms. Rice and other top officials in the Obama White House illegally tried to identify which Trump campaign and transition aides had been caught up in the U.S. intelligence intercepts of Russian interference in the presidential race.
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Democrats want the probes to stay tightly focused on possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump and collusion between his associates and the Kremlin. The U.S. intelligence community has unanimously concluded that the Kremlin was behind an organized cyberattack campaign to interfere in the U.S. election and undermine the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton last year.

But since the Russia probes launched earlier this year, Mr. Trump and his aides have argued that the real scandal lies elsewhere. They contend that senior Obama administration officials, including Ms. Rice, inappropriately unmasked and perhaps illegally leaked to the media the names of Trump campaign officials swept up in the hacking probe, and failed to take sufficient steps to stop the hacking once it was uncovered.

Judicial Watch sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the NSC in April seeking records concerning Ms. Rice’s communications on a range of subjects.
NSC Access Management Director John Powers responded on May 23 — roughly a week before the House intelligence committee began seeking the records.

“Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library,” Mr. Powers wrote. “You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.”

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