Other than the president himself, we’re starting to believe that the crookedest official in the Obama administration was none other than Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Not only has Clapper admitted on multiple occasions to being a force behind the phony investigation into the Trump team’s so-called “collusion” with Russian entities, his name has appeared time and again in this dark unmasking controversy that threatens to send half of Obama’s intelligence team to prison. And the crazy thing is that Clapper feels so comfortable inside the protection of the mainstream media/Democrat Party cocoon that he’s not even denying the truth!
On CNN this week, Clapper admitted that both he and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice did their fair share of unmasking America citizens who were unfortunate enough to be caught up in legal foreign surveillance.
“So I did unmasking during my six-and-a-half years at DNI,” he said. “Susan did as well.”
Oh, Mr. Clapper? Are you aware that U.S. citizens are entitled to a little thing called due process under the law? Are you aware that each and every one of your casual unmaskings should have been reviewed and approved by the FISA court and accompanied by a warrant? No, apparently – and recent FOIA disclosures bear this out – the Obama intelligence community believed themselves to be above the law. Free to unmask, disclose, and (perhaps) refer for prosecution individuals who had their rights trampled by a renegade intelligence director.
“It was not,” Clapper went on to say, “done for political purposes whatsoever.”
Gee, why do we find that so difficult to swallow?
Perhaps it’s because none of these unmaskings led to any criminal prosecutions? Or because so many of the names of Trump transition officials who were unmasked by Rice, Clapper, and Deputy NatSec Adviser Ben Rhodes somehow found their way into the pages of The New York Times? Yeah, we’d say there are plenty of reasons to doubt that the Obama intelligence leadership was “just doing their jobs” when they recklessly spread these names throughout the administration’s various agencies. They were certainly not – as has also been laughably claimed – trying to protect democracy or whatever high-handed excuse they’ve come up with in the aftermath of this scandal.
The most disturbing part of all of this may be that Trump’s current national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, apparently thinks what Clapper and Rice did was just peachy. Administration officials who spoke to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake last week said that McMaster “has concluded that Rice did nothing wrong,” which “might explain why Trump has yet to declassify more information in the prior administration’s unmasking requests.” We also learned last week that McMaster wrote to Rice, assuring her that she would retain her national security clearances.
It will be up to Congress – and more specifically, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes – to get to the bottom of the Obama administration’s improper, and possibly criminal, use of this technique. When and if he does, we’ll expect Gen. McMaster to explain himself – both to the American people and to the president he supposedly serves.