"President Trump said on Wednesday that he thought that the former national security adviser Susan E. Rice may have committed a crime by seeking the identities of Trump associates who were swept up in the surveillance of foreign officials by American spy agencies and that other Obama administration officials may also have been involved", The New York Times reports.
Trump would not say if he reviewed new intelligence to support his claim. On Tuesday, she told MSNBC that it's "absolutely false" that she or any other Obama administration officials unmasked names of Trump's presidential campaign and transition team members for political purposes.
As a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who has handled requests for demasking the names of American citizens for a USA policymaker, I thought Rice's claims in her interview did not add up.
It is legal and not unusual for a national security adviser to request the identities of Americans who are mentioned in intelligence reports.
And while US intelligence sources told Fox News that unmasking requests escalated after Trump was elected, Rice claimed she didn't remember.
Rice correctly said in her interview that policymakers sometimes request to know the identities of Americans from NSA reports to understand these reports in certain circumstances.
"I leaked nothing to nobody, never had, never would", Rice told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.
"Now, whatever you think the former White House National Security Adviser has done wrong - if in fact she's done anything wrong at all - it's hard to imagine it could possibly amount to the biggest anything", Cooper continued.
"I believe if there is any truth at all to these allegations, or any substance to them at all then Susan Rice will have to testify before the Intelligence Committee in the House and the Senate...."
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"I think it's going to be the biggest story", he said.
Rice's inquiry reportedly preceded a list of names getting passed up the ladder of the U.S. intelligence community.
FBI Director James Comey, in the same hearing, would not say how many in his agency have that power. It is unlikely she would have know that any unidentified American had a connection to Trump, the officials said.
When a name is unmasked it is only provided to the official who requested it, and therefore unmasking is not equivalent to leaking the name.
The White House never explained exactly why Trump tweeted what he did, but right-leaning news reports making that claim were brought to Trump's attention at the time, as previously reported by ABC News.
Rice isn't the only Obama official implicated in the Trump team surveillance scandal.
"I have not seen any evidence or any indication of [anything] improper", Warner said.
Rice may now face an inquiry by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The dispute revolves around so-called "incidental collection"- when USA intelligence agencies inadvertently pick up the names or conversations of US persons on wiretaps or other communications intercepts.