Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice only needed to confirm one aspect of the intelligence unmasking story for all of the dots to connect. She made that confirmation within two minutes of her interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
From the MSNBC transcript, emphasis mine:
Susan Rice @00:51 – …”Let me explain how this works. I was a National Security Adviser, my job is to protect the American people and the security of our country. That’s the same as the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and CIA Director.; and every morning, to enable us to do that, we receive – from the intelligence community – a compilation of intelligence reports that the IC, the intelligence community, has selected for us –on a daily basis– to give us the best information as to what’s going on around the world.”
Note, right there. STOP. No need to go any further. There it is – Susan Rice is describing the Presidents’ Daily Briefing, aka the “PDB”. She continues:
“I received those reports, as did other officials, and there were occasions when I would receive a report in which, uh, a ‘U.S Person’ was referred to. Name, uh, not provided, just ‘U.S. Person’.
And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance in the report – and assess it’s significance, it was necessary to find out or request, who that U.S. official was.”
This is the important detail. Susan Rice was requesting unmasking of U.S. person’s names, which she moments later describes as “U.S. official[s]”, to understand the context and importance for the intelligence being given within the Presidents’ Daily Brief.
Under President Obama’s communication and intelligence directives, the Presidential Daily Briefing was widely shared with dozens of administration persons in various agencies.
From a Washington Post story explaining the PDB and Obama’s use therein. (again, emphasis mine):
(Washington Post) […] It’s the president’s book. And indeed, it is tailored to each president’s individual needs. CIA officers in 1961 designed what was initially known as the President’s Intelligence Checklist specifically for John F. Kennedy’s tastes, using punchy words and phrases while avoiding clunky bureaucratic language and annoying classification markings. That checklist evolved into the President’s Daily Brief in late 1964 , as the agency reformatted and retitled the book of secrets to appeal to Lyndon Johnson’s preferences. While the name has stuck, the content and format have continued to evolve. President Obama receives his in digital form and reads it on a tablet .
But while through most of its history the document has been marked “For the President’s Eyes Only,” the PDB has never gone to the president alone. The most restricted dissemination was in the early 1970s, when the book went only to President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who was dual-hatted as national security adviser and secretary of state.
In other administrations, the circle of readers has also included the vice president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with additional White House staffers. By 2013, Obama’s PDB was making its way to more than 30 recipients, including the president’s top strategic communications aide and speechwriter, and deputy secretaries of national security departments. (link)
The post article was written December 26th 2016, after the election – and was presumably written due to post-election media reports the intelligence community had concerns over sharing information with President-elect Trump; this was the preferred, and false, anti-Trump narrative for a few weeks. I digress.
The important aspect two fold: #1) the PDB is electronic viewable by POTUS Obama on his iPad; and #2) how many people were getting the PDB information 30+, against the backdrop of Rice’s admitted unmasking of names within the raw intelligence for PDB user comprehension.
There you can see that “more than 30 recipients” would be privy to the unmasked information within the PDB as an outcome of the protocols instituted by the White House and President Obama’s National Security Advising team.
From Rice’s MSNBC interview the departments of “State (John Kerry et al) and Defense (Ash Carter et al)”, along with CIA (Director John Brennan), NSA (Director Mike Rogers) and ODNI James Clapper, all participated.
As such, and as outlined by the Washington Post on distribution, deputies within Defense and State, along with “other national security departments” would have access to the unmasked PDB information.
Here’s where you realize within those “more than 30 recipients” you find people like Secretary Hillary Clinton, Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy and various high level officials in the Office of the Secretary and its Executive Secretariat (S/ES) past and present. This is also where the Deputy Secretaries of Defense like Dr. Evelyn Farkas come into play. All of these officials would be accessing, or at least have access to, the President’s Daily Brief, and the unmasked intelligence within it.
When you recognize how widely the Obama administration disseminated the PDB you begin to realize how easy it was for any foreign entity, including the Russians, to have access to the EXACT SAME daily intelligence brief as President Obama and his National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
An additional character within this wide-dissemination construct would be John Podesta. Remember, after Hillary Clinton stepped down from Secretary of State, she inserted, with Obama’s approval, John Podesta within the White House Senior Advisory staff to keep a communications line open with direct information. (As pictured below) Podesta remained in that position throughout 2013, 2014 and into 2015.
Having a known entity like John Podesta with access to the PDB and the unmasked intelligence therein, puts the appropriate highlight on the risk carried by Russian hacking into Podesta’s electronic communications, stored data and email correspondence.
Is it any surprise Russian, or any foreign intelligence group, would then be making attempts to enter the unsecured private email accounts of Secretary Hillary Clinton and her top level staff?
And John Podesta is only one of numerous people who would have access to this PDB information. All of which would potentially be at risk of being read daily by enterprising hackers, or various spies, who would glean a gobsmacking level of information by actually reading the same unmasked intelligence as the President of the United States.
Oh, the angles are almost limitless.
Not only would President Obama and his entire NSC team be gathering operational political intelligence on their political adversaries to include President-Elect Donald Trump and his transition team, but they would also be gathering intelligence and unmasking it on other U.S. Officials…..
…..That same unmasked and widespread surveillance, under the auspices of intelligence gathering, was then shared with dozens of administration officials -beyond the likes of the National Security Council, Asst. Defense Secretary Farkas and politicos like John Podesta- which means it was more than likely reviewed, via hacking etc., by our most critical national enemies.
Follow that trail to where it leads and you’ll likely discover the real story that encompasses the motive to create the ‘vast Russian conspiracy‘.
It only took Susan Rice two minutes on MSNBC to highlight the entire motive.
Another March 2nd MSNBC interview takes a new context:
“I was urging my former colleagues, and, and frankly speaking the people on the Hill [Democrat politicians], it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can – get as much intelligence as you can – before President Obama leaves the administration.”
Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left; so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks – if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the Trump staff, dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods; meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.
So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia; so then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were also trying to help get information to the Hill. … That’s why you had the leaking”.
“if they found out HOW we knew … that they would try to compromise those sources and methods; meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence “,
Indeed they would Dr. Farkas. Indeed they would.