Most reasonable observers believed or at least hoped that the nation would finally be spared having to listen to the Clinton and Obama administrations’ go-to liar after last November’s election. In the normal course of events, National Security Advisor Susan Rice would have simply packed her bags and vanished into well-paid obscurity at a “progressive” university or think tank. But it was not to be.
The woman who has been blamed with some accuracy for more fiascos than most can count is still with us. She first publicly demonstrated her bad judgment as far back as 1996 when as the Clinton National Security Council’s senior director for African affairs, she successfully urged the Clinton White House to refuse a Sudanese offer to turn al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden over to the United States. Bin Laden had helped engineer the first World Trade Center bombing and, but for Ms. Rice, would have been taken down before he and his buddies finally brought the towers down eight years later.
No doubt gaining prestige for this sage advice, Ms. Rice steadily rose to become what passes for a foreign policy superstar in the Clinton and Obama world, finally ending up as President Obama’s national security adviser, where she worked internally to weaken this country’s support of Israel and was constantly available to heap praise on her boss and his accomplishments. She was selected by the White House communications team after the terrorist attack in Benghazi to falsely blame a hapless filmmaker for the debacle lest Mr. Obama’s re-election narrative that he had the terrorists on the run be jeopardized. It was then that Ms. Rice came into her own as a liar.
Utilizing talking points put together and given her by Obama aide Ben Rhodes, she took to the Sunday talk show circuit, appearing before every camera she could find to declare the filmmaker the villain while insisting that the White House and Mrs. Clinton were blameless. It wasn’t until Judicial Watch went to court to get copies of the Rhodes emails ordering her to lie to protect her bosses that the public began to appreciate her talent for telling whoppers.
Ultimately, her tour de force on Benghazi and later public claim that Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl was a hero captured by the enemy on the battlefield rather than the deserter everyone in the administration knew him to be cost her the job at the top of the foreign policy ladder. Chosen as Mrs. Clinton’s successor as secretary of State, Ms. Rice was forced to withdraw rather than face confirmation hearings in the Senate.
Now with the revelations earlier this week that it was she who “unmasked” the names of Trump associates overheard in conversations with foreign nationals picked up by U0.S. intelligence during the Trump campaign and transition, the lady is at it again. At first she claimed she had done nothing unusual, not realizing her actions were coming under scrutiny. Then she admitted that, yes, she had increased her requests to the intelligence agencies as the campaign heated up and through the transition, and that she was aided in her efforts by none other than her old friend and co-conspirator, Ben Rhodes. Once it was revealed that she was collecting data on the future president, she admitted the “unmasking,” but assured everyone that, as she told reporters, she had “leaked nothing to nobody.”
The only people who took her at her word were Clinton and Obama apologists who would, if called upon, praise the bright sunlight at midnight. Don Lemon and others at CNN immediately dismissed the facts revealed as “fake news” designed to malign Ms. Rice and the Democrats in an effort to divert attention from the Trump administration’s many sins and failings. The public isn’t buying it, knowing that being fooled once by a serial liar might be blamed on the liar, but anyone who could be fooled twice, three times or more by the likes of Ms. Rice can blame only themselves.
Those familiar with the way she went about collecting information on her boss’ political enemies know that she and Mr. Rhodes were running an unprecedented effort to politically weaponize the powerful tools put into the hands of the government to fight terrorism and turn them on those with whom they disagree. Michael Doran, a former National Security Council (NSC) senior director, was shocked at the enormity of what they had purportedly done, telling a reporter they had accessed “a stream of information that was supposed to be hermetically sealed from politics and the Obama administration found a way to blow a hole in the wall.”
Mr. Doran’s shock was echoed in the words of retired Col. James Waurishuk, former NSC aide and deputy director of U.S. Central Command, who told the Daily Caller, “This is really, really serious stuff.”
Indeed it is, and though Ms. Rice has dodged questions about whether she’ll willingly testify before congressional investigators on what she did, she should be required to do so if she has to be dragged up there kicking and screaming while being reminded that lying under oath is different from lying in front of a television camera.
• David A. Keene is editor at large at The Washington Times.