This Is Susan Rice
Meet Joe Biden’s choice to lead the White House Domestic Policy Council.
On December 11, Joe Biden named Susan Rice to lead his White House Domestic Policy Council. Rice’s consistent track record of dishonesty, prevarication, and poor judgment stretches back decades.
By the time she graduated from Stanford University with a degree in history in 1986, Rice was already a committed leftist with a heart and mind full of racial grievance. That year, she wrote an 86-page book titled A History Deferred, which claimed that because most U.S. students were “taught American history, literature, art, drama, and music largely from a white, western European perspective,” “their grasp of the truth, of reality, is tainted by a myopia of sorts.” “The greatest evil in omitting or misrepresenting Black history, literature, and culture in elementary or secondary education is the unmistakable message it sends to the black child,” Rice elaborated. “The message is ‘your history, your culture, your language and your literature are insignificant. And so are you.’” Published by the Black Student Fund -- an advocacy group for which Rice interned -- A History Deferred served as a guide for elementary- and secondary-school teachers who aspired to teach “Black Studies” from an Afrocentric perspective.
In 1985 Rice was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and subsequently attended New College, Oxford, where she earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 1988 and a Ph.D. in the same discipline two years later.
Praising the Dictator Robert Mugabe
While at Oxford in 1990, Rice wrote a 426-page dissertation praising, as “a model and a masterpiece in the evolution of international peacekeeping,” the 1979-80 British peacekeeping operation that had led to the political ascendancy of Zimbabwe's bloodthirsty Marxist dictator, Robert Mugabe. In her dissertation, Rice lauded Mugabe as a “pragmatic, intelligent, sensible, gentle, balanced man” who possessed considerable “patience and restraint.”
Politicizing the Rwandan Genocide
Rice served on the Bill Clinton administration’s National Security Council from 1993-97, and as Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001.
During the Rwandan genocide of mid-1994 -- in which some 800,000 people were massacred in a 100-day period -- Rice was a key player in the Clinton administration's decision not to intervene in a peacekeeping role, so as to avoid becoming embroiled in a politically risky endeavor where no strategic U.S. interests were in play. (Classified documents prove conclusively that Rice and her fellow Clinton administration officials were -- contrary to claims they made soon after the period of mass slaughter in Rwanda -- fully aware of how extensive the Rwandan carnage was.)
In a related measure, Rice persuaded the administration to purge the State Department's and CIA's Rwanda-related memos of such terms as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” “If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?” she wondered aloud. Then-lieutenant colonel Tony Marley would later recall that he and his colleagues at the State Department “could believe that people would wonder that, but not that they would actually voice it.”
Rejecting Sudan’s Offer to Turn Bin Laden over to the U.S.
In 1996-98, Rice helped persuade President Clinton to rebuff Sudan’s offer to turn Osama bin Laden, who was living there at the time, over to U.S. authorities. Rice reasoned that because Sudan had a poor human-rights record, the U.S. should have no dealings with that nation's government -- not even to obtain custody of the al Qaeda leader or to receive intelligence information on terrorists from Sudanese authorities. She viewed such intelligence as inherently untrustworthy. As then-U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, Tim Carney, later explained:
“Sudan’s policy shift sparked a debate at the State Department, where foreign service officers believed the United States should reengage Khartoum. By the end of summer 1997, [those officers] persuaded incoming Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to let at least some diplomatic staff return to Sudan to press for a resolution of the civil war and pursue offers to cooperate on terrorism. Two individuals, however, disagreed. NSC terrorism specialist Richard Clarke and NSC Africa specialist Susan Rice, who was about to become assistant secretary of State for African affairs."
Rice and Clarke persuaded Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger to overrule Albright vis-a-vis Sudan. And when Sudan tried again to share intelligence on bin Laden in a February 1998 letter addressed directly to Middle East and North Africa special agent-in-charge David Williams, Rice still wanted nothing to do with Sudan and killed any possibility of a deal.
Bin Laden subsequently moved his terrorist operations to Afghanistan, from where he would go on to mastermind the murderous 9/11 attacks of 2001.
Lying about Unpreparedness for the Embassy Attacks in Africa
Rice's actions in the wake of two terrorist attacks against American interests in 1998 are highly noteworthy as well. In the spring of that year, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, sent an urgent letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright begging for additional security at the embassy, in light of growing terrorist threats and a warning that she (Bushnell) herself was the target of an assassination plot. The State Department denied this request, as well as a number of previous ones, on grounds that beefed-up security measures would be too costly. A few months later, on August 7, 1998, Islamic terrorists simultaneously blew up the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania with car bombs, killing more than 200 people. Within 24 hours, Rice appeared on PBS as a Clinton administration spokesperson and falsely claimed that the administration had “maintain[ed] a high degree of security at all of our embassies at all times.” In addition, she stated that there had been “no telephone warning or call of any sort like that, that might have alerted either embassy just prior to the blast.”
Disastrous “Peace” Mediation in Africa
In May 1998, Rice was dispatched to mediate a peace plan between the warring African nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea. According to Columbia University professor Peter Rosenblum: “Rice announced the terms of a plan agreed to by Ethiopia, suggesting that Eritrea would have to accept it, before [Eritrean President] Isaias had given his approval. He responded angrily, rejecting the plan and heaping abuse on Rice. Soon afterward, Ethiopia bombed the capital of Eritrea, and Eritrea dropped cluster bombs on Ethiopia.” As Bret Stephens later wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “An estimated 100,000 people would perish in the war that Ms. Rice so ineptly failed to end.”
Disastrous “Peace” Plan in Sierra Leone
Fred Fleitz of National Review Online discusses how “Rice also played a central role in an absurd and deadly peace plan in Sierra Leone that released a psychotic rebel leader named Foday Sankoh from prison and made him Sierra Leone’s vice president under the Lome Agreement of 1999.” As Fleitz elaborates: "Sankoh’s rebel group, the RUF, which had a reputation for mass rapes and amputations, was given amnesty for all crimes. The agreement resulted in a catastrophe because Sankoh immediately began to reorganize his rebel force after he was released from prison and his fighters resumed killing and maiming civilians. The RUF refused to allow a U.N. peacekeeping force into rebel-held areas and took 500 peacekeepers hostage. The Clinton administration was afraid to resolve the disaster, so the U.N. turned to the United Kingdom, the former colonial power. British troops routed the RUF and arrested Sankoh.”
Relationship with Rwandan President
After leaving the Clinton administration in 2001, Rice became managing director at Intellibridge, a D.C.-based strategic-analysis firm where one of her clients was Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda.
Joining the Obama Administration
In 2005 Rice co-authored an academic article which postulated that terrorism was “a threat borne of both oppression and deprivation.” This perspective made her a perfect fit for a high-level appointment in the Obama administration after the 2008 presidential election. Thus, on December 1, 2008, President-elect Obama nominated Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, making her the first African American woman ever to hold that post. Moreover, Obama upgraded the position to that of a cabinet-level post.
Reasoning (contrary to much strong evidence) from the premise that poverty breeds terrorism, Rice and the Obama administration wanted U.S. taxpayers to fund nearly $100 billion per year of new-development-aid programs under the auspices of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Project -- a massive wealth-redistribution initiative designed to transfer money from the world's developed states to its poor states, many of them in Africa.
In February 2011, Rice stated: “For more than four decades, [Israeli settlement activity] has undermined security … corroded hopes for peace … [and] violate[d] international commitments.” During testimony she gave two months later, Rice reiterated that sentiment, asserting that “Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate.”
Shielding the Rwandan Government from International Censure for Its Role in Fomenting Violence in Congo
National Review Online writer Jim Geraghty has pointed out that in 2012, Rice, who was “in an official position shaping U.S. policy on Africa,” once “again faced criticism [that] she had softened the U.S. response to mass killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and [to Rwandan president Paul] Kagame’s support of violent rebel forces.” Against the backdrop of the fact that Kagame and Rice had a close personal relationship, Geraghty quotes a December 2012 New York Times piece that said:
“Specifically, these critics — who include officials of human rights organizations and United Nations diplomats — say the administration has not put enough pressure on Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, to end his support for the rebel movement whose recent capture of the strategic city of Goma in Congo set off a national crisis in a country that has already lost more than three million people in more than a decade of fighting. Rwanda’s support is seen as vital to the rebel group, known as M23.
“But according to rights organizations and diplomats at the United Nations, Ms. Rice has been at the forefront of trying to shield the Rwandan government, and Mr. Kagame in particular, from international censure, even as several United Nations reports have laid the blame for the violence in Congo at Mr. Kagame’s door. Aides to Ms. Rice acknowledge that she is close to Mr. Kagame and that Mr. Kagame’s government was her client when she worked at Intellibridge, a strategic analysis firm in Washington.”
Rice's False Assessment of the Deadly September 11, 2012 Terror Attack Against a U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi, Libya
On September 11, 2012, Islamist protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, where they destroyed the American flag and replaced it with a black Islamist flag that read, “There is one God, Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet.” The protesters said they were angry over an obscure YouTube film -- known alternately as Innocence of Muslims or Muhammad, Prophet of the Muslims -- which was critical of the Prophet Muhammad and had been produced recently in the U.S.
Later on September 11, 2012, a large group of heavily armed Islamic terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya with much greater violence. In the process, they killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, 52-year-old Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. For nearly two weeks, Rice and the rest of the Obama administration consistently characterized what had occurred in Benghazi not as an act of terrorism, but as a spontaneous, unplanned uprising that evolved unexpectedly from what had begun as a low-level protest against the aforementioned YouTube video. In reality, however, within mere hours after the incident, U.S. intelligence agencies had already gained more than enough evidence to conclude unequivocally that the attack on the mission was a planned terrorist incident, and that the video had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Rice made big headlines on September 16, 2012, when she appeared on five separate Sunday television news programs where she claimed, falsely, that according to the “best information at present,” the deadly attack in Benghazi was not a premeditated assault but rather a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” For example, she told Bob Schieffer on CBS's Face the Nation: “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”
On December 13, 2012, Rice -- having sparked much public controversy with her false statements regarding Benghazi -- withdrew herself from consideration for the post of Secretary of State (to replace the outgoing Hillary Clinton). In a letter to President Obama, Rice said that her nomination process (before the U.S. Senate) “would be lengthy, disruptive and costly -- to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” and that “the tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country.”
In June 2013, President Obama appointed Rice as his top national security adviser -- a post that did not require Senate confirmation. As author and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters wrote at the time: “Bringing Rice into the Executive Branch’s innermost circle rewards her for being a good soldier in taking the fall on Benghazi, and it makes it virtually impossible for Congress to subpoena her for a grilling, thanks to our government’s separation of powers. Sharp move, Mr. President.”
Rice Praises the Traitorous American Soldier Bo Bergdahl
Rice sparked additional controversy when she spoke out in support of a May 31, 2014 deal in which President Obama freed five senior Taliban commanders and high-value terrorists who had been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, in exchange for the release of Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who had deserted the military in 2009 and spent the next five years with the Taliban. (Eight other American soldiers were subsequently killed in the process of trying to find and recover Bergdahl.) Just before his 2009 desertion, Bergdahl had emailed this message to his father: “I am ashamed to be an American.... The horror that is America is disgusting.” On June 1, 2014, Susan Rice told CNN that Bergdahl had served the U.S. with “honor and distinction.”
Rice's False Statement About Turkey's Assistance in the U.S. Fight Against ISIS
In an October 12, 2014 interview on Meet the Press, Rice responded to a question about Turkey’s obvious lack of cooperation in the U.S. fight against the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorist group which had recently overrun vast swaths of Syria and Iraq with a brutal campaign of mass slaughter, crucifixions, beheadings, rapes, and enslavement. Said Rice:
“[F]irst of all, the Turks have, this just in the last several days, made a commitment that they will in the first instance allow the United States and our partners to use Turkish bases and territory to train -- hold on, let me explain this carefully -- to train the moderate Syrian opposition forces. So that is a new commitment. They have now joined Saudi Arabia in giving the go-head for that important contribution. In addition, they have said that their facilities inside of Turkey can be used by the coalition forces, American and otherwise, to engage in activities inside of Iraq and Syria. That’s a new commitment, and one that we very much welcome.”
But Rice's assertion was a lie. The Turkish government swiftly responded to her claims by declaring that no decision had been reached regarding the use of its military bases by the U.S. to engage in activities inside of Iraq and Syria. According to the Turkish prime minister's office, Turkey had agreed only to the training of supposedly “moderate” Syrian rebels on Turkish soil.
Turning a Blind Eye to Russian Cyber Attacks
In their 2018 book, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, investigative reporters David Corn and Michael Isikoff report that in June 2016, Michael Daniel, the director of cybersecurity for the Obama White House, was alarmed to learn that Russian actors had successfully infiltrated critical election infrastructure in a number of U.S. states. According to Business Insider: “Obama administration officials did not believe the Russians had the technological savvy to manipulate the vote count. Rather, they were more concerned hackers could alter voter rolls, registration files, or other processes that could sow doubt about the legitimacy of the election as a whole.”
As evidence of this Russian cyberactivity came to light, Mr. Daniel and Celeste Wallander, the National Security Council's leading Russia analyst, pushed for the Obama administration to retaliate decisively – e.g., by: (a) conducting NSA-backed cyberattacks targeting the Russian intelligence community and Russia-linked actors; (b) leaking classified intelligence revealing the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his family members; or (c) announcing a joint U.S.-NATO “cyber exercise” designed to show Russia that America and its Western allies were capable of responding forcefully to its illicit activities. But when Rice learned of these ideas, she told Daniel: “Don't get ahead of us,” adding that the U.S. cyber response team should “knock it off” and take no action. Said Business Insider in March 2018:
“The staffers on Daniel's cyber response team were baffled when he informed them that they had been told to stand down. When they asked the cybersecurity director why they weren't taking action, Daniel reportedly told them [that] Rice and the homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, were concerned that then-President Barack Obama would be 'boxed in' if news of their deliberations leaked to the press.... The White House's internal struggle over how to address Russia's election meddling has been well documented. Last year, The Washington Post reported that when they were faced with the question of how best to respond to Russia's meddling, one senior official told the outlet, 'I feel like we sort of choked.'”
Rice's Role in "Unmasking" Trump-Affiliated Individuals in Intelligence Reports
In the course of conducting intelligence operations on terrorist organizations or other foreign entities, American national security agents often collect information on “U.S. persons” – a term of art referring to United States citizens and lawful permanent residents – who are not under surveillance themselves. The intelligence community refers to such occurrences as examples of “incidental collection.” In incidentally collected communications, the name of the person whose conversations have been intercepted is supposed to be redacted or “masked” – i.e., replaced with a generic identifier – unless the information is thought to have value as foreign intelligence. Masking is carried out to protect individuals who may get inadvertently caught up in an electronic dragnet, from being falsely accused of crimes or of otherwise improper behavior.
Conversely, the “unmasking” of a “U.S. person” – i.e., the identification of such an individual by name – is an extraordinarily powerful tool that requires review at the highest levels of government. Only the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA are authorized to unmask U.S. persons, and then only for reasons of national security. And if these agencies do unmask someone, his or her identity may only released to the few intelligence officials (about 20 or so) who are authorized to make an unmasking request. In short, the practice of unmasking is not in itself illegal, but the leaking of an unmasked person's identity to anyone other than the aforementioned small group of intelligence officials, is.
In 2016, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice made multiple unmasking requests, so that she and her political allies could compile a list of names of incoming Donald Trump campaign officials who had been incidentally monitored during intelligence surveillance of foreign governments. The names of these Trump associates, which included some of his family members, had been redacted in the intelligence reports, but Rice requested that they be unmasked. Their names were then disseminated to the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and Rice’s former deputy, Ben Rhodes.
When then-House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-California) announced, during a March 2017 press conference, that the identities of U.S. citizens had been leaked by Obama officials for partisan political purposes, Rice professed ignorance: “I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.”
The following month, however, Rice's story began to change. On April 4, for instance, she tweeted that she had simply meant that she did not know “what reports Nunes was referring to.” Later that month, she said that she had never done anything “untoward with respect to the intelligence” which she had received.
In April 2017 as well, a blockbuster Bloomberg News report indicated that Rice had requested or directed that the identities of a number of individuals involved with Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign be “unmasked” in raw intelligence reports that would then be widely distributed throughout the federal government and its intelligence agencies – a massive and unprecedented violation of standard policy.
“The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations.... [W]e’ve been told for weeks that any unmasking of people in Trump’s circle that may have occurred had two innocent explanations: (1) the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election and (2) the need to know, for purposes of understanding the communications of foreign intelligence targets, the identities of Americans incidentally intercepted or mentioned. The unmasking, Obama apologists insist, had nothing to do with targeting Trump or his people.
“That won’t wash. In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA.... There would have been no _intelligence _need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an _intelligence need_based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies. The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.”
Rice Lies About Syria's Chemical Weapons
In a January 16, 2017 interview with NPR, Rice boasted that the Obama administration had successfully eliminated the threat of Syrian chemical weapons: “We were able to find a solution that didn't necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished…. We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.”
But less than three months later, on April 4, 2017, the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical-weapons attack against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province.
Rice's Controversial Email to Herself
On the afternoon of January 21, 2017 – fifteen minutes after newly elected President Donald Trump had been sworn into office, and thus, fifteen minutes after Rice's tenure as national-security adviser had ended – Rice wrote an email to herself which stated:
“On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities 'by the book.' The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
“From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. […]
“The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.”
Regarding Rice's email, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in National Review:
“[I]t’s not really an email-to-self. It is quite consciously an email for the record.... [F]or at least a few more minutes, Rice still had access to her government email account. She could still generate an official record. That’s what she wanted her brief email to be: the dispositive memorialization of a meeting she was worried about — a meeting that had happened over two weeks earlier [January 5], at which, of course, President Obama insisted that everything be done 'by the book.' […] An email written on January 21 to record decisions made on January 5 is not written to memorialize what was decided. It is written to revise the memory of what was decided in order to rationalize what was then done.”
Rice Says That North Korea Should Be Accepted As a Nuclear Power
In August 2017, Rice said that President Donald Trump should accept North Korea as a nuclear power, despite the fact that North Korean President Kim Jong Un was repeatedly threatening to launch nuclear missiles into American cities. “History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War,” Rice wrote in a New York Times op-ed wherein she criticized Trump's recent warning that any nuclear provocation by North Korea would be met with military “fire and fury.”
Exploiting the Coronavirus Crisis As a Justification to Push for Vote-by-Mail and "a More Equitable Society"
In April 2020, as the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and American life, Rice said in an interview with CNN:
“This is a moment not only of crisis, but inherent in that crisis is opportunity. And we need to take steps to broaden our social safety net to ensure that the most vulnerable have the healthcare, have the education, have the housing that they need.
“But in the immediate term, because many of those things are going to take time and being ambitious, I recommend two critical steps that Congress could take in the next legislation that it passes. One is to ensure that every American has the ability to vote safely in our November election.... [W]e have a real challenge to ensure that voters are able to access the ballot by mail, by longer periods of early voting, by safer polling stations, and that is the job of congress to ensure.
“And secondly, Congress can make a down payment on this effort to build a more equitable society by … creating something called a health force which can begin by employing unemployed Americans, students and the like to be contact tracers….”
Rice Condemns President Trump's Call for Patriotic Education & Speaks of a "Living" Constitution
During a September 2020 broadcast of CNN’s OutFront, host Erin Burnett said: “[President Trump] just said something else today, signed an executive order creating the quote ‘1776 commission.’ And the goal of it, and I want to quote, from the order is to ‘restore patriotic education to our schools,’ as if that education has been gone. He went after The New York Times for its quote, ‘1619 project,’ which aims to reframe this nation’s history with a greater focus on slavery.... What is your response to the president?” Rice replied:
“This was one of the most astonishing speeches I’ve heard him give. He talks about patriotic education. I thought I was listening to Mao Zedong running communist China. We don’t have the education where the dear leader tells the people what they must learn. We open students’ minds. We give them facts. We teach them how to analyze. We teach them civics and the foundations of the Constitution. When you study the Constitution, which it appears Donald Trump hasn’t, you understand it is a living document that has evolved. He heralded today the signing of the Constitution in 1787 as a great day, it was. I love the Constitution. I’ve sworn an oath to protect it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. In 1787, you and I, Erin, and all women in our country couldn’t participate in the democracy. We had no vote. If you were African-American and a male, the constitution of 1787 said you are worth 3/5 of a human being. So, to celebrate that and deny the realities of our history, positive and negative, and to wipe out the history of slavery in this country and to call the teaching of it un-American is the most communist, retro, crazy thing I’ve heard out of Donald Trump’s mouth in a while.”
This, in summary, is Susan Rice, Joe Biden’s pick to lead his White House Domestic Policy Council. The narrative of her long career in “public service” is punctuated on virtually every line by dishonesty, deception, poor judgment, and a total absence of wisdom. In short, she represents a perfect fit for a Biden administration.