Efforts by a conservative legal watchdog group to obtain records pertaining to former National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s alleged efforts to unmask the names of Americans caught up in surveillance of foreign subjects — perhaps for political purposes — has been thwarted after they were handed over to the Barack Obama presidential library.
In a press release on its website, Judicial Watch said that it had filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 4 with the National Security Council to obtain any records related to said unmasking. However, the group noted the NSC said in response that the request could not be fulfilled because those documents had been moved to Obama’s new library, where they will most likely remain sealed for at least five years.
The move has led many critics of the Obama administration to conclude that the records were purposely moved to prevent their timely release.
Judicial Watch noted that additional requests for documents on various related subjects would also not be met:
The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials.
“Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library,” the NSC told Judicial Watch in a letter dated May 23. “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.”
In all, Judicial Watch said it has filed a half-dozen FOIA lawsuits that are tied to the surveillance, unmasking and illegal leaks of information to the media that specifically targeted President Donald J. Trump and members of his administration. (RELATED: Obama admin spied on THOUSANDS of Americans in months leading up to 2016 election)
“The records sought in this request pertain to actions by the former National Security Advisor that demonstrate a much higher degree of independent authority than was contemplated by the court; specifically, the issuance of directives to the Intelligence Community related to the handling of classified national security information,” Judicial Watch said in a statement.
“The recent revelations of the role of Susan Rice in the unmasking the names of U.S. citizens identified in the course of intelligence collection activities and the potential that her actions contributed to the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information are matters of great public interest,” the group added.
In late March, Fox News reported that a government source claimed a person “very high up” in the intelligence community was responsible for requesting that Trump associates be unmasked:
Intelligence and House sources with direct knowledge of the disclosure of classified names told Fox News that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., now knows who is responsible — and that person is not in the FBI.
That report did not identify the person. But a few days later, independent investigative journalist Mike Cernovich reported exclusively that Rice had “been identified as the official who requesting the unmasking of incoming Trump officials,” so their identities could be spread around the various intelligence agencies, where they were certain to be leaked (which is precisely what happened).
Cernovich said the White House Counsel’s office is who identified Rice as the person who requested the unmasking; Rice has denied that she or the Obama White House ‘inappropriately’ unmasked Team Trump officials.
The first Team Trump member to be unmasked, and whose identity was then leaked to the media, was Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, regarding communications he had with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak Dec. 24.
Flynn resigned following publication of some details surrounding that communication, though not because he did anything illegal or improper, but because he misrepresented the conversation to Vice President Mike Pence.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.