Conservative critics say Susan Rice sought to improperly "unmask" the identities of Trump associates caught up in intelligence surveillance while she was still working in the previous White House. Nope, she says. "The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes, that is absolutely false," the former national security adviser tells NBC News. The controversy stems from reports that Rice asked for the identities of Trump transition officials who were mentioned, but not named, in intelligence reports about the monitored phone calls of foreign officials. Rice said the requests she made were routine, and she denied having spreadsheets of Trump-related phone calls or leaking information, as some have alleged.
"I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would," Rice said. In the interview with Andrea Mitchell, Rice described the process, per USA Today: "There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a US person was referred to, name not provided," Rice said. If she felt that knowing the person's identity would help her understand the intelligence better, she would ask those briefing her for more information. "They would take that question back, they would put it though a process, and the intelligence community would make a determination about whether the identity of that US person could be provided to me." She says she has no recollection of making more of those requests than usual after the election.