Rice defends McMaster against 'unfair' attacks

Rice defends McMaster against 'unfair' attacks

Former national security adviser Susan Rice defended her successor, H.R. McMaster, on Thursday from "unfair" attacks from the right over his decision to renew security clearances for Rice and other Obama administration officials.

Rice told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that it is a precedent observed by both Democratic and Republican administrations to renew the security clearance of former advisers, saying that those critical of her renewed security clearance were trying to "make an issue where there's not one."

"Gen. McMaster, according to the White House statement, renewed the security clearances of all of his former advisers and living presidents of the United States. That is customary to do when a new administration comes in, and all of the prior ones have done the same," Rice said.

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"I think it is really, unfortunately, an opportunity and an excuse for those that are now quite unfairly, in my judgment, attacking Gen. McMaster to make an issue where there is not one," she continued.

McMaster's decision to renew Rice's security clearance sparked outrage among some Trump supporters, who started a #FireMcMaster hashtag that trended on Twitter for hours.

Rice wouldn't say whether she has been in contact with McMaster since he was named Trump's national security adviser in February.

"I think I would rather not answer that," Rice said. "I think — let us just say, it is customary for sitting national security advisers, I know from my own experience, to be in touch with predecessors to understand what challenges and issues they wrestled with and what options they considered."

Last week, it was reported that McMaster had concluded that Rice had done nothing wrong in regards to revealing the identities of Trump associates whose voices had been picked up in intelligence intercepts.

Trump was also forced to defend his national security adviser in a statement last week, praising his commitment to Israel and working relationship with the president.

“Gen. McMaster and I are working very well together,” Trump said on Friday.

“He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country," he added.