April 3, 2017

Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and spokesman for the National Security Council was asked by Andrea Mitchell to comment on a new report about Susan Rice. He turned the story back to the real narrative by reminding Mitchell that the real scandal is "this administration's yet-unexplained ties to key figures in the Russian government."

Bloomberg reporter Eli Lake ran an article naming Susan Rice as the person who requested some unmasking of Trump officials, which has Fox & Friends running wild with the story and Trump, as usual treating them like Woodward and Bernstein.

Mitchell asked, "There is an accusation being relayed through Eli Lake, one of the journalists in touch with Devin Nunes that is Susan Rice for whom you worked was the official that they're now saying unmasked Trump officials during the campaign. Do you want to address that?"

Price said he couldn't comment on direct intelligence but said that the conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, formerly of Pizzagate fame, is the guy that first reported on this story.

(Here's a whole list of atrocities carried out by Mike Cernovich.)

"It was then popularized this morning by Eli Lake the same reporter to whom Devin Nunes lied last week and the result of which was a report widely discredited," Price said.

And then he spoke about the merits of the report.

Price continued, "On the merits, it's important to remember that unmasking is not at all equivalent to leaking." There is nothing inherently wrong with requesting that something be unmasked."

"In fact, there is a well-established process established by the intelligence community that has been used across administrations for policy makers, for intelligence analysts and anyone else with access to intelligence reports to request that a name be unmasked and there is a process because sometimes it is necessary to understand an intelligence report and to request that the name be unmasked."

How dare the NSA ask for names to be unmasked when trying to understand intelligence briefings?

"Look, the real issue here is not unmasking. It's really not even leaking. It is this administration's yet-unexplained ties to key figures in the Russian government," he said.

Trump has instructed Chairman Nunes to hijack the House investigations away from the Russians attempts at influencing our election process and any collusion between Trump officials and Russia and to focus on his "wiretapping" allegations.

Paul Waldman writes a take down of these allegations in the Washington Post: Anatomy of a fake scandal, ginned up by right wing media and Trump

Think Progress' Kira Lerner writes:

But the reports, which originated from the far-right, fringe corners of the internet, do not reveal any illegal activity or violation of privacy laws. They also provide no support for President Trump’s still entirely-unsubstantiated claim that the Obama administration’s surveillance targeted Trump officials.

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