RICE AND OBAMA ENGAGING AMERICA’S ENEMIES
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.”