Susan Rice: Trump had ‘obligation’ to fully vet Flynn

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Former national security adviser Susan Rice on Sunday said President Trump had an “obligation” to vet former national security adviser Michael Flynn properly, dismissing criticism that the retired general received a security clearance under the Obama administration.

“Fareed, I’m smiling because that’s rich,” Rice told host Fareed Zakaria on CNN’s “GPS.”

Rice said Flynn retained his security clearance during her time in office through his “home agency,” the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).


“First of all, a former military officer such as General Flynn, who wants to retain his security clearance, would go through a process with his home agency, in this case the Defense Intelligence Agency, to have his clearance reviewed and renewed,” Rice said.

She said the renewal procedure occurs at a “routine level,” and not “at a political level.”

Rice stressed that his DIA vetting is “a very separate” process from the vetting process to become a senior official in the administration, adding that the Trump White House had an “obligation” to properly vet Flynn for his position as national security adviser.

“The Trump administration, like every previous administration, had an expectation and an obligation to vet, to their satisfaction, those individuals that the president was appointing to high positions, which is a separate and much more elaborate process than a security clearance,” she continued. “It gets into the financial information. It gets into your relationships and contacts. It gets into your behavior. It’s a much deeper vet than what is done solely for the purpose of a security clearance.”

Rice’s comments come after White House press secretary Sean Spicer deflected blame for Flynn’s senior role by saying Flynn received his security clearance in the Obama administration. 

The House Oversight Committee released new documents last Thursday that revealed the Pentagon warned Flynn about accepting foreign payments after his retiring in 2014.

Flynn resigned in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the details of his discussions with a top Russian diplomat.

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