Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Tuesday she did not spy on President Trump or members of his team for political purposes, and that she had not leaked information gleaned from intelligence reports about them.
But while she refused to confirm it directly, citing classified information, Rice seemed to imply she requested that members of the Trump team whose names were redacted in intelligence reports be “unmasked,” or identified, as a report Monday from Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake asserted. The stories focus on “incidental collection,” when an American is caught up in surveillance of a foreign target, in which case the American’s name is redacted but can legally be revealed at the request of certain officials, including the national security adviser.
“There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to, name not provided,” Rice said. “Sometimes in that context in order to understand the significance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to request the information as to who that person was.”
For example, Rice said, if a hypothetical report dealt with an American trying to sell bomb-making equipment to foreigners, she would want to know whether the American was a “kook” or a credible person, in which case the report would be taken more seriously. She said any unmasking request had to run through an established intelligence-community protocol. Rice also said she never requested reports, but sometimes asked for unmasking in reports sent to her by intelligence officials.