Tags: susan rice | unmask | intelligence community | cia

Susan Rice's Unmask-and-Disseminate Tactics Politicized Intel Community

Susan Rice's Unmask-and-Disseminate Tactics Politicized Intel Community
Former President Barack Obama (L) talks to Susan Rice, former U.S. national security advisor, April 1, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty Images)

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Monday, 10 April 2017 04:02 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I have recently spent some time on radio and TV discussing the actions of former White House official Susan Rice. So far, all subsequent revelations regarding this unfolding scandal have justified all my written concerns.

When I was a CIA ops officer abroad, I spent time collecting intelligence on the widespread practice of foreign leaders using their nation’s intel and police services to embarrass, entrap, or even arrest members of the political opposition. This is standard practice in many countries of the former Soviet Union. My initial reaction to WireTap-gate, contrary to that of the mainstream media, was that there was something to this accusation — having been to this rodeo before.

The Obama Administration’s previous record on items like IRS-gate and other scandals reinforced my suspicions — and having long served in the Intelligence Community (IC), I was aware of how guidelines, created by the IC to protect the rights of Americans, could be subverted or twisted.

For me, the first clue that indicated that something was amiss was the early January change in IC policy to allow raw intel to be shared throughout the U.S. government (based on need to know, of course). This is highly suspicious as there is no operational justification for such an action. Recent scandals like Snowden or Manning indicated our problem is a too broad dissemination of intel — not the opposite.

The provision of raw intel, unprocessed and unanalyzed throughout the policymaker world, is unprecedented. The vast majority of our multi-billion dollar, personnel-rich IC is dedicated to analysis of intelligence collected — not the collection of the information (I was a Collector). Open sources state that at least 80 percent of intel collected is Signals Intelligence — phone, email intercepts and the like; It takes a lot of people to sift through that.

Policymakers are by nature very busy people, and the purpose of the IC is to sift through the data mountain, analyze it, provide perspective, and perhaps project future trends based on this info. That is what they are paid to do. Rare is the SigInt report that is going to provide large quantities of actual intercepted communications.

When the Obama Admin decided that the IC should start disseminating raw intel, it literally increased by at least a factor of ten the amount of reports landing on a policymaker's desk. Why would they want that? Policymakers rarely even have the time to review all of their provided (analyzed) intel reports — why increase the data dump?

I suspect the reason is that the Obama’s people wanted to obtain information that is not normally found in intelligence reports — in fact, information that is really not of national security interest. Access to the raw intel would give someone the full spectrum of all intercepts — mundane activities such as a Russian diplomat picking up his dry-cleaning, the Frenchman talking to his mistress — things like that. Generally useless from an intel perspective, but for a political fishing expedition — with intention of embarrassing an incoming administration — perhaps "value-added." New York Rep. Pete King stated that the information distributed seemed like "divorce proceeding" material - perhaps what I would call the electronic equivalent of "going through someone’s trash."

So what we have, in brief, is an IC rule change that geometrically increased the quantity of intel delivered, but also the number of people within the government that had access to this information. All of Susan Rice’s "unmasking" actions — and the infamous statements of former official Evelyn Farkas, when viewed in this context — begin to give us real insight into the true motives behind these actions taken.

It seems that Susan Rice, with her "multiple" requests to unmask U.S. citizen names in intel reports, was seeking to collate this "incidental" collection, and then disseminate it widely to confederates in the federal government. I have seen this type of intercept reporting before — one must have a very good reason to request an unmasking of the name of a U.S. citizen (normally blocked out) in such reporting. Of course, if someone is a senior official at the president’s right hand… I suppose it is easier…

I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that although no law breaking has been shown to date, there certainly is abuse of power. Susan Rice was certainly violating the spirit of the law — designed to protect Americans from such feckless political exploitation. Further investigation will hopefully determine if there were any laws broken.

When I was in the CIA, management used to preach to working level officers like myself that even the "appearance of impropriety" was to be avoided. Woebetide the officer who crossed this line … unless perhaps, they were a senior officer or administration member. WireTapGate certainly wreaks of such impropriety.

Hard working, loyal intelligence professionals, as well as retired officers such as myself, are furious at this abuse of power displayed by the prior administration.

Politicization of intelligence is the most fatal blow to the credibility of any intel service — it breaks the bonds of trust between the service and the public it serves — and on a larger scale can damage national security. No doubt that the enemies of the United States take some comfort in the selfish, shortsighted actions of some of our politically appointed reprobates.

Scott Uehlinger is a retired CIA Station Chief and Naval Officer. A Russian speaker, he spent 12 years of his career abroad in the former Soviet Union. In addition to teaching at NYU, he is a frequent Newsmax TV and Fox Business TV commentator, and has a weekly podcast, "the Station Chief," that can be found on iTunes or at www.thestationchief.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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ScottUehlinger
It seems that Susan Rice, with her "multiple" requests to unmask U.S. citizen names in intel reports, was seeking to collate this "incidental" collection, and then disseminate it widely to confederates in the federal government.
susan rice, unmask, intelligence community, cia
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2017-02-10
Monday, 10 April 2017 04:02 PM
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