Susan Rice admits to unmasking; Congressman says she should face jail unless she can assert valid reason

A member of Congress said jail may be the best place for former National Security Adviser Susan Rice after she engaged in some serious backpedaling of a statement she’d made two weeks ago.

During a Tuesday interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Rice admitted to participating in the unmasking of U.S. citizens, the communications of whom is sometimes incidentally collected during the intelligence community’s surveillance of foreign nationals.

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Rice admitted that she would sometimes ask that those names, which are normally redacted, be “unmasked.”

“When the intelligence community would respond to a request from a senior national security official for the identity of an American, that would come back only to the person who requested it. It would be brought back to them directly… To me or whoever might have requested it,” she told Mitchell.

“This is important. The notion that which some people are trying to suggest that by asking for the identity of an American person, that is the same as leaking it is completely false,” Rice continued.

“There’s no equivalence between unmasking and leaking. The effort to ask for the identity of an American citizen is necessary to understand an intelligence report in some circumstances,” she added.

“There is an established process to ask for senior national security officials to ask for the identity of U.S. persons in these reports.”

If there were a legitimate reason for the unmasking of U.S. citizens related to national security, that would be one thing; if it were politically motivated, that’s another issue entirely, as Rep. Scott DesJarlais told radio host Larry O’Connor Tuesday after Rice’s revelation.

But the Tennessee Republican couldn’t come up with such a reason. “I really can’t,” he said when the issue was advanced at about the 10:25 mark during his interview on “The Larry O’Conner Show.”

And unless Rice can come up with a reason related to national security, there was only one place for her, DeJarlais believed.

“My experience with Susan Rice before on Oversight was basically distributing falsehoods after the Benghazi attacks,” he said. “If she did this for political reasons, she ought to go to jail.”

In addition to claiming on five Sunday political talk shows that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration resulting from an anti-Islamic video, Rice also called accused deserter that Bowe Bergdahl has served “with honor and distinction.”

O’Connor observed that Rice maintains there was a legitimate reason for her to order the unmasking and wondered if that would be a proper role for a national security adviser.

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“I certainly wouldn’t think so. I can’t see the scenario where it would be,” DesJarlais said. “It doesn’t surprise me she doesn’t think she did anything wrong. Lois Lerner didn’t think she did anything wrong either.”

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