Former national security adviser Susan Rice denied Tuesday that she used her position to inappropriately spy on members of President Donald Trump’s transition and campaign teams.
“The allegation is that somehow, Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes,” Rice told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “That’s absolutely false.”
“The notion, which some people are trying to suggest, that by asking for the identity of the American person is the same is leaking it — that’s completely false,” Rice added. “There is no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking.”
“I leaked nothing to nobody,” she said.
EXCLUSIVE: Susan Rice says the claim that intelligence was used for political purposes is “absolutely false” Watch: https://t.co/JdbgCtSgEN
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 4, 2017
As reported by Western Journalism, Rice made numerous requests seeking to unmask Trump associates.
Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake reported Monday that Rice “requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.”
WATCH: Susan Rice insists “I leaked nothing to nobody” https://t.co/kAsbu4VJDN
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 4, 2017
The former Obama White House official’s pattern of requests was discovered during a National Security Council review of the government’s policy of “unmasking.” Unmasking is the revealing of names of Americans involved in intercepted communications.
Responding to that specific issue, Rice said, “I don’t solicit reports. They’re giving it to me, if I read it, and I think that in order for me to understand, is it significant or not so significant, I need to know who the ‘U.S. Person’ is, I can make that request.”
Intelligence sources told Circa that White House logs reviewed by the National Security Council staff “suggested Rice’s interest in the NSA materials, some of which included unmasked Americans’ identities, appeared to begin last July around the time Trump secured the GOP nomination and accelerated after Trump’s election in November launched a transition that continued through January.”
Rice did not respond to inquiries by Bloomberg and other media outlets for comment regarding the unmasking matter on Monday.
When questioned on PBS’ NewsHour about Trump transition officials being swept up in incidental intelligence collection last month, Rice responded, “I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”
Just days before Obama left office in January, his administration issued new rules enabling the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.
One of the implications of the new rules was it became far more difficult to track down those who leaked classified information to the press.
Rice also found herself in the center of controversy in the fall of 2012.
While serving as U.N. ambassador, Rice blamed the attacks on the American consulate and CIA Annex in Benghazi on a spontaneous uprising prompted by an anti-Islam YouTube video.
The version of events she proffered during multiple television appearances was later repudiated when the details of the raids were made public.
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