Declassified Susan Rice email contradicts 2017 claim she had no knowledge of Trump campaign surveillance

by Jordyn Pair · May 21st, 2020 9:24 am

A newly declassified email contradicts a 2017 claim from former National Security Adviser Susan Rice that she had no knowledge of surveillance of incoming Trump administration officials.

Rice originally publicly denied knowledge of the surveillance in April 2017, saying during an interview on PBS' News Hour that she was "surprised" by reports from then-House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) that communications from Trump and other officials had been included in surveillance activities against foreign actors.

A newly declassified email from January 2017 sent from Rice to herself shows that she knew about the surveillance operation. The email said that former FBI Director James Comey had "no indication" that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been passing classified information to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, but added that he was still wary of sharing information based on how often Flynn communicated with the ambassador.

"President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied ‘potentially,'" the email reads. "He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.'"

The letter was declassified earlier this month by Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.


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