Judicial Watch, which has been attempting to get to the bottom of the Obama “unmasking” scandal, had an interesting press release yesterday…
Judicial Watch today announced that the National Security Council (NSC) on May 23, 2017, informed it by letter that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.
The NSC will not fulfill an April 4 Judicial Watch request for records regarding information relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.”
The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials. Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:
Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. 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.
This is likely going to lead to a flurry of litigation over what the NSC has the power to do with its documents. There is a legitimate legal issue to be fought out over information which can be considered classified; the information being sought wouldn’t appear to fit that category. They’re asking for records which would prove that Susan Rice requested the names of Trump’s campaign or transition team be unmasked and therefore appear on transcripts of intercepts of communications recorded by the National Security Agency. That would include intercepts of, for example, phone calls between Trump transition team members – Mike Flynn being the most obvious one – and foreign officials. But of special concern is whether this might have gone further to include communications which did not involve foreigners. Judicial Watch is attempting to find out whether the NSA was tasked to spy on the Trump campaign by the Obama administration – if that did happen, you’d have a lot larger scandal on your hands than anything the media has spun up to date.
The unmasking itself would constitute a relatively serious criminal matter. If this were to go all the way down the rabbit hole you might have something that dwarfs every two-bit “scandal” the major media has blown up over the past half century. Again from the JW press release…
While acknowledging in its FOIA request that “we are cognizant of the finding by the Court of Appeals … that [the NSC] “does not exercise sufficiently independent authority to be an ‘agency’ for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act,” Judicial Watch argued:
The records sought in this request pertain to actions by the former National Security Advisor that demonstrate a much higher degree of independent authority than was contemplated by the court; specifically, the issuance of directives to the Intelligence Community related to the handling of classified national security information…
The recent revelations of the role of Susan Rice in the unmasking the names of U.S. citizens identified in the course of intelligence collection activities and the potential that her actions contributed to the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information are matters of great public interest.
“Prosecutors, Congress, and the public will want to know when the National Security Council shipped off the records about potential intelligence abuses by the Susan Rice and others in the Obama White House to the memory hole of the Obama Presidential Library,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We are considering our legal options but we hope that the Special Counsel and Congress also consider their options and get these records.”
As this investigation headed up by the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, of Trump’s supposed “obstruction” of the Flynn investigation goes further, we’ll know whether it’s nothing more than a witch hunt intended to destroy Trump’s presidency or an honest attempt to get at the truth if Mueller and his team – which sadly seems to be made up of mostly max-out Democrat donors whose objectivity is questionable – act on JW’s request and look to the Obama side of this Russia/intelligence scandal business.
Consider us skeptical about the entire thing.