Note that while the NSA is cooperating, apparently, the CIA and FBI are not. Both of the latter agencies are headed by Obama holdovers and are refusing to appear before Congress. It's time for James Comey and Mike Rogers to be replaced.
And if it wasn't Susan Rice calling the shots, who was it? As National Security Advisor, she reports to Obama directly. Her name is on the unmasking requests (possibly along with more names). If she wasn't calling the shots, there's only one person who could give her orders.
It would have been 55-45, but one of the Republicans was absent. That's actually fairly promising. Presuming the missing Republican would have voted for Gorsuch, a Supreme Court nominee getting 55 votes is a lot better than, say, 51. Or 50 with a tiebreaker from the VP.
When the next vacancy comes up, it seems likely the vote will be significantly closer.
I've seen it said that the definition of chutzpah is the person who, on trial for killing his parents, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. This case is only slightly less blatant than that.
You see, the above quoted words were written in defense of Susan Rice by Ben Rhodes, one of her aides, a recipient of the unmasked intelligence information, and given his role in the creation of an Iran deal echo chamber, likely the person (or one of those people) who actually leaked that information to the press.
In short, he's defending himself by accusing the Trump administration of authoritarianism.
What's the definition of authoritarianism? Well, one part of it is using national-security intelligence infrastructure to spy on your political opponents.
Ben, I strongly advise you to go home and wait for the knock on your door. It probably won't come at midnight, and it won't be authoritarianism. It will be justice.
No one needs a gun to commit violence. Even mass murder is readily achievable with tools available to anyone living in a modern industrial society. The reason it doesn't happen all that often is that modern societies have evolved social mechanisms to discourage people from committing mass murder.
That's why it's dangerous to import people from societies that have evolved social mechanisms that encourage mass murder.
Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice should both testify under oath and behind closed doors before Congress on this matter. Rhodes should be asked what he knew, how he found out, and who he told. Susan Rice should be asked the same questions.
And they should both be asked what Obama knew and when he knew it.
I've noticed some media commentators saying this decision "will come back to bite [the Republicans]". That's a clear and simple example of media bias. This rule change vote is a clear example of the Democrat's use of the Reid Option to eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominees and thus pack the courts for Obama coming back to bite them.
The only valid response to this claim of future responsible behavior is "Too late." The Democrats used the Reid Option to pack the courts under Obama. The payback will be delicious, and must inflict a Great and Terrible Punishment upon the Democrats for their abuse of power. Then, and only then, can we consider a truce.
Actually there is a lot of evidence of exactly that. From the large number of requests for unmasking, to the long duration (going back a full year to the beginning of the primary process), to Rice's two-week-old denial that she knew anything about it, to Rice's general untrustworthy nature (see Benghazi), to the wide dissemination of the unmasked identities throughout the Obama Administration, to the leaks themselves. Rice's fingerprints are on a number of those things directly.
Clearly, that system failed in this case. Rice had the authority to unmask. She did so (a lot). It appears, in hindsight, that those requests to unmask were improper. If that in itself is not specifically illegal, it should be. In the absence of specific laws against abusing intelligence information to interfere with a candidate for president and/or the actual president-elect's transition team, laws must be put into place, and surely there are some general purpose laws that would serve well enough in the meantime.
Admittedly, we don't know whether Rice is the actual leaker. The actual leaker will likely face multiple 10-year prison sentences, under existing law regarding leaking of US identities in incidentally-collected intelligence information.
But we know she took deliberate steps to make it easier to leak the information and harder to identify the leaker. We know from Farkas and other commentary that the administration was doing that deliberately to make it possible to leak the intelligence information even after they left the White House. That makes it a political strategy and that means Rice was very likely involved in both formulating and implementing it. That seems like it would make her vulnerable to RICO, too.
The claim that, hey, maybe she had job-related reasons to request all these unmaskings is stretched thin indeed when used to cover all of the activity within the Obama administration on this issue.
The identity of the leaker(s?) matters, because each of them is guilty of a felony and needs to spend 10 years in prison writing "I will not abuse intelligence information for political purposes" on license plates. But the identity of the conspirators matters too. After all, Watergate brought down the President, even though he didn't break into the hotel personally.
Zerohedge has more details. So far, 10 dead and 50 injured. A second device was found but did not detonate. Officials are not ruling out terrorism. (Since the targets are clearly civilian, it pretty much counts as terrorism no matter what; the question would be which terrorists and whether the attacker was acting alone).
Note that Rice is a known political operative: she was front-and-center pushing the lies about Benghazi being a "protest" rather than an attack during the 2012 election.
The Bloomberg story does continue to try to claim that Trump's tweets about Trump Tower being wiretapped are somehow not vindicated by this. That's BS. Trump was wiretapped. We are all being wiretapped by the NSA. That's life under Obama (and if we're being honest, under prior presidents, too -- it just got a lot worse under Obama).
Clinton and aides retained security clearances after leaving State Department
I'd imagine that retaining a security clearance for a period of time is not entirely unusual, though that shouldn't allow a staffer who has left to retain active access to classified materials. I imagine it would be more like an expiration date. Certainly people "write their memoirs" after retiring pretty often and seem to retain some access for research purposes. To the extent that is a normal practice, I don't necessarily mind.
The live-action remake did well. It honored the original anime, make certain plot points clearer, delivered CGI that was convincing if not completely flawless, and was all around a successful remake that I can recommend highly.
Obviously, they are trying to hide the motivation. The Mayor of London, presumably in charge of the Metropolitan Police who are conducting the investigation, is a Muslim and has strong incentives to hide any hints of his own religion being tied to this attack. And it appears that police who don't like the coverup are leaking evidence to the press:
So, yeah. ISIS claims him as a soldier. He had an encryption app on his phone and sent a message immediately before the attack. Police arrested 11 people after the attack (even if they subsequently released 8, that's a lot of people connected to an attack for a "lone attacker"). But the police can't add one and one to get two.
Liberal press insanely disappointed the VPOTUS is not having an affair
Look at all the complaints. The Clintons may have brought public shame upon the nation by their trashy behavior in the White House, and Obama kept up a steady flow of communist propaganda, but to the press, respectable behavior in a politician is just boring.