- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton likened former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice to “Typhoid Mary” while discussing his familiarity with “unmasking” procedures on the Senate intelligence committee.

Speaking Tuesday with radio host Hugh Hewitt about reports that Ms. Rice requested the “unmasking” of Trump campaign associates who were caught up in U.S. surveillance efforts, the Republican senator said it would be a “momentous” occasion for a member of the committee to ever make a similar request.

“Typically, we wouldn’t see transcripts of intercepts to begin with,” Mr. Cotton said. “Those transcripts are part of the raw intelligence that analysts at the NSA and CIA and other intelligence agencies use to produce finished products that then we would review.

“We’re looking at the raw intelligence in the same way that a lawyer might review the records to see if the claims in a brief are supported,” the senator added. “But that’s fairly unusual. Typically, we’re dealing with finished products and we’re dealing with hearings where the authors or the sponsors of the products are testifying. So, I’ve never had the occasion — I’ve never needed to request unmasking of that, and it would be a pretty momentous action because those minimization procedures are in place specifically to protect the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens.”

Mr. Cotton said it is important for the committee to view logs of all individuals who requested documents related to President Donald Trump’s associates.

Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy,” Mr. Cotton said, a reference to the 20th century woman who spread typhoid fever in New York. “Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it — whether it was these allegations of improper unmasking and potential improper surveillance, whether it was Benghazi or many of the other fiascos of the Obama administration. … The last thing we need are political operatives in the White House fooling around with intelligence to make it harder to pass the laws we need to keep Americans safe.”

SEE ALSO: She speaks! Susan Rice insists she did NOT use intelligence for political gain

Ms. Rice has denied any wrongdoing related to the matter. On Tuesday she told MSNBC’s Andrew Mitchell that claims she acted unethically during her tenure in the White House are “absolutely false.”

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