McMaster: Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong

Andrew Harrer/DPA via ZUMA

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Natasha Bertrand points us to the 13th paragraph of Eli Lake’s piece at Bloomberg today about Russia sanctions. The latest round of sanctions were, he says, driven largely by leaks. And while he appreciates the end result in this case, he’s not happy about leaks in general. In particular, he’s not happy about the practice of “unmasking,” in which White House officials ask for redacted names to be revealed so they can better understand what intelligence intercepts are about—and then maybe leak some dirt about their political opponents.

Susan Rice was the most recent target of nonsense allegations that she had unmasked the names of Trump aides and then leaked them to the press. But Lake’s sources tell him this:

Not everyone agrees that what Rice did was improper. She was after all receiving much new intelligence about Russia’s role in the election, some of which suggested coordination with Trump associates. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has concluded that Rice did nothing wrong, according to two U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to me on condition of anonymity. That might explain why Trump has yet to declassify more information on the prior administration’s unmasking requests.

Yes, that would explain it, all right. Rice did nothing wrong; McMaster (and therefore Trump) know she did nothing wrong; and declassifying further information would simply make that clear. It’s much more fun to let things dangle. That allows the conspiracy-theory crowd to continue believing that Rice is a partisan hack who lied about Benghazi and tried to smear Trump’s campaign team.

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In "News Never Pays," our fearless CEO, Monika Bauerlein, connects the dots on several concerning media trends that, taken together, expose the fallacy behind the tragic state of journalism right now: That the marketplace will take care of providing the free and independent press citizens in a democracy need, and the Next New Thing to invest millions in will fix the problem. Bottom line: Journalism that serves the people needs the support of the people. That's the Next New Thing.

And it's what MoJo and our community of readers have been doing for 47 years now.

But staying afloat is harder than ever.

In "This Is Not a Crisis. It's The New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, why this moment is particularly urgent, and how we can best communicate that without screaming OMG PLEASE HELP over and over. We also touch on our history and how our nonprofit model makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there: Letting us go deep, focus on underreported beats, and bring unique perspectives to the day's news.

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