Slow pace of Rice records angers in­tel­li­gence panel

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Jus­tice Depart­ment spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller.

On May 31, Repub­li­cans and Democrats on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee is­sued a se­ries of sub­poe­nas related to the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Three of the sub­poe­nas — sent to in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity agen­cies — sought records re­lat­ing to al­leged un­mask­ing re­quests made by se­nior Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion fig­ures, in­clud­ing Ms. Rice, CIA Di­rec­tor John O. Bren­nan and U.S. Am­bas­sador to the U.N. Sa­man­tha Power.

Democrats want the probes to stay tightly fo­cused on pos­si­ble ob­struc­tion of jus­tice by Mr. Trump and col­lu­sion be­tween his as­so­ciates and the Kremlin. The U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity has unan­i­mously con­cluded that the Kremlin was be­hind an or­ga­nized cy­ber­at­tack cam­paign to in­ter­fere in the U.S. elec­tion and un­der­mine the can­di­dacy of Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton last year.

But since the Rus­sia probes launched ear­lier this year, Mr. Trump and his aides have ar­gued that the real scan­dal lies else­where. They con­tend that se­nior Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Ms. Rice, inap­pro­pri­ately un­masked and per­haps il­le­gally leaked to the me­dia the names of Trump cam­paign of­fi­cials swept up in the hack­ing probe, and failed to take suf­fi­cient steps to stop the hack­ing once it was un­cov­ered.

Ju­di­cial Watch sent a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest to the NSC in April seek­ing records con­cern­ing Ms. Rice’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions on a range of sub­jects.

NSC Ac­cess Man­age­ment Di­rec­tor John Pow­ers re­sponded on May 23 — roughly a week be­fore the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee be­gan seek­ing the records.

“Doc­u­ments from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion have been trans­ferred to the Barack Obama Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary,” Mr. Pow­ers wrote. “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.”

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