Poll: Should criminal charges be filed against Susan Rice for the unmasking of Trump team members?

Susan Rice charges
Susan Rice (CBS)

Susan Rice charges
Susan Rice (CBS)

While appearing on Fox Business this week, Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., suggested that Susan Rice engaged in illegal activity when she requested the unmasking of American citizens involved with the Trump campaign and transition team.

“She said intelligence wasn’t used for political purposes. We know that’s false. There were a number of leaks of classified information involving US persons including Michael Flynn that are illegal… I think she dug herself more of a hole because two weeks ago she said she never heard of any type of unmasking,” he said.

The Washington Examiner added:

Former national security advisor Susan Rice, according to reports, “unmasked” the identities of President Trump’s associates who appeared in raw intelligence reports. Rice is already a villain in Republican circles for blaming the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack on an anti-Islam YouTube video, so the revelation plays into GOP claims that President Trump and his team are suffering from politically-motivated leaks originating with Obama-era government officials.

“That Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice is alleged to have been responsible for this unmasking is troubling given her history of deceit and her close relationship with then-President Obama,” DeSantis said. “We need to know whether the material gleaned from the Rice unmasking is the material fed to the media in an attempt to do political damage to the Trump administration and, if so, who was responsible for leaking it.”

In an op-ed at Fox News, Gregg Jarrett explains:

Under the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive (section 18), Rice was authorized to unmask the names of U.S. citizens, as long as it was essential to national security. Sure enough, Rice claims that national security was her reason.

Here is the rub. It would be difficult for a prosecutor to prove otherwise. Likely, only Rice knows her true intent, and it is doubtful she authored a smoking-gun memo that reads, “let’s unmask these names so we can use their identities for political gain.”

But if such an email exists or if someone were to come forward to allege that Rice verbally confided her motivation was for political reasons, then she would be looking at a serious felony punishable by up to 5 years behind bars.

Rice could face an additional problem. If she requested that a name be unmasked in a document that had nothing whatsoever to do with foreign surveillance involving national security, an argument could be made that she created a false statement in her unmasking request, which is a crime under 18 USC 1001.

What do you think?  Should Rice be brought up on charges?  Let us know what you think and tell us why in the comments below:

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