RICE AND OBAMA EN­GAG­ING AMER­ICA’S EN­E­MIES

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Su­san E. Rice re­mains among the more low-pro­file pres­i­den­tial ad­vis­ers serv­ing at the higher lev­els of the wan­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Obama.

De­tails emerged this month show­ing Ms. Rice in 2008 was vet­ted for a na­tional se­cu­rity post in the an­tic­i­pated new ad­min­is­tra­tion and shared Mr. Obama’s will­ing­ness to work with en­e­mies of the U.S.

“Rice also shares Obama’s open­ness to hold­ing diplo­matic talks with all coun­tries, in­clud­ing Amer­ica’s en­e­mies, when it is in the United States’ in­ter­est to do so,” says a doc­u­ment sent to John Podesta, the Obama pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion team leader, on Oct. 31, 2008, and now Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign chief.

The doc­u­ments were among the more than 20,000 emails hacked from Mr. Podesta’s Gmail ac­count and posted on the anti-se­crecy web­site Wik­iLeaks.

The vet­ting doc­u­ments were based on in­ter­views and ques­tion­naires with Ms. Rice, a for­mer Africa staff mem­ber with the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state dur­ing the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Rice has ad­vo­cated ne­go­ti­a­tions with so-called ‘rogue’ regimes, such as North Korea, to fur­ther U.S. ob­jec­tives,” one doc­u­ment states. “Her writ­ings have been crit­i­cal of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion on this front.”

The doc­u­ment re­veals that Ms. Rice is mar­ried to Ian Cameron, a Cana­dian who in 2008 was ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of ABC News’ “This Week.” It said the link posed a po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est.

“The fact that Rice’s hus­band cur­rently works as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of ‘This Week …’ could cre­ate po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est is­sues if she has a sig­nif­i­cant pol­icy role in an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, al­though those would largely be is­sues that ABC News would have to ad­dress, and Rice in­di­cated that she and her hus­band had dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity that steps might need to be taken to re­move the con­flict in the event that she re­ceives such a po­si­tion,” the re­port said.

An­other po­ten­tial prob­lem for Ms. Rice cited in the leaked emails was her role in the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fail­ure to take up an of­fer from Su­dan’s gov­ern­ment to counter al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was based in the North African state in the late 1990s.

The Khar­toum gov­ern­ment, in a bid to be taken off the U.S. list of state spon­sors of ter­ror­ism, had of­fered the FBI ac­cess to in­tel­li­gence files on bin Laden in 1996. But the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion ig­nored the of­fer, made in a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. Ms. Rice was in­volved in the missed in­tel­li­gence op­por­tu­nity.

“Rice would have been in­volved in ad­min­is­tra­tion de­ci­sion-mak­ing about Su­dan both at NSC and in the State Depart­ment,” the vet­ting re­port says. “Rice de­nies that the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion missed mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to co­op­er­ate with the Su­dan and at­tributes the crit­i­cism to a small num­ber of spe­cific de­trac­tors.”

An NSC spokesman de­clined to com­ment. One ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, how­ever, said: “It’s not news that Am­bas­sador Rice shared — and con­tin­ues to share — the pres­i­dent’s pol­icy of en­gage­ment in fur­ther­ance of our na­tional se­cu­rity, and that’s pre­cisely what this ad­min­is­tra­tion has done over the course of nearly eight years.”

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