A bombshell report last week revealed that Susan Rice
, Barack Obama's
national security advisor, asked the intelligence community for information
on and subsequently unmasked members of Trump's transition team and
campaign. As a result of this revelation, pressure has been mounting for an
investigation into Rice over these reports. Here are the reasons why
this is a good idea:
1. We need to know if the unmasking of members of Trump's team was
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R - GA) said the following to The Hill's Molly K. Hooper:
When you’re in position like that and you have responsibility,
constitutional responsibility, legal responsibility, you do not take
things upon yourself to drive national security in a political direction.
Rep. Loudermilk is correct. The national security advisor works with the
president on issues surrounding the protection of the homeland, a power
that is enumerated to the executive branch in Article II of the Constitution,
and should not be influenced by partisan politics. If Rice acted extrajudicially in pushing her political agenda through her position, that raises serious concerns.
2. We need to know who initiated the unmasking of Trump's team.
When Rep. Devin Nunes (R - CA) announced information about the
"incidental collection" of surveillance intel on Trump's team, it was unclear
who was responsible for ordering the wiretaps in the first place and whether
it was actually intended to keep tabs on Trump's team. Having been outed
as involved in the unmasking, Rice needs to be upfront about the intent of the
wiretaps that "incidentally" bugged members of then-President-elect Trump's
Rep. Loudermilk likewise addresses this question in his statement to The Hill.
"Somewhere, somebody in the intelligence community had the idea to make
this political to unmask those people so that it can be used for political
purposes," he said. "The question is, we know where the order came from,
what it sounds like from Susan Rice, was it her intention or was she just
parroting something that someone said?"
Indeed, Rice needs to answer that question.
3. We need to know if Rice's actions violated the law.
While it is not illegal to unmask Americans incidentally wiretapped in a
surveillance operation, it is illegal to leak those names to the press, as
Trey Gowdy (R - SC) implied while questioning FBI Director James Comey
a few weeks ago.
Watch his line of questioning from March 20:
4. We need closure to this story.