As part of his purging of political appointees from the National Security Council (NSC), National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has cleared Obama holdover Susan Rice from all wrongdoing after Republican lawmakers accused her of “unmasking” the identities of Trump transition team members that were redacted from official intelligence reports.
Concern has been mounting within the Trump administration over McMaster, who has taken to firing mostly Trump loyalists hired by former national security advisor Michael Flynn and appears to be considering mostly Obama holdovers as members of the NSC he envisions.
His conclusion on Rice is a continuation of this trend, as Trump claimed Rice committed a crime by requesting the names of members of his transition team be revealed but didn’t present proof. After a closed testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee two weeks ago, McMaster has determined Rice did nothing illegal.
“This decision is based on my determination: (1) that such access is consistent with the national security interests of the United States, and (2) that appropriate steps have been taken to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure or compromise and to ensure that the information you access is safeguarded in a manner consistent with E.O. 13526,” McMaster wrote in the letter, referring to an Obama-era executive order detailing how classified information is to be treated.
Furthermore, Circa reported today that McMaster told Rice in April she would be able to retain her security clearance and that the NSC would waive her “need-to-know” requirement.
It appears that McMaster has a different interpretation than the president of what “draining the swamp” entails.
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