Former national security adviser Susan Rice forcefully denied allegations that she intentionally "unmasked" names listed in raw intelligence reports for political gain.
She also denied allegations stemming from a report by The Daily Caller claiming that she had compiled names of associates of U.S. President Donald Trump and ordered that they be organized into a spreadsheet that was then disseminated.
Rice served under former U.S. President Barack Obama and has been accused of leaking for political gain, according to NBC News. What is not under dispute, however, is the fact that Rice did ask for names gathered in intelligence reports to be "unmasked," or revealed. Requesting names to be unmasked is a routine action for a national security adviser.
Unmasking of names listed in intelligence reports is the responsibility of the FBI and NSA and adheres to their rules and must be approved by a lawyer.
Rice has faced scrutiny for her requests to unmask the names of Americans listed in the intelligence reports, and some conservatives believe her actions amount to a personal vendetta against Trump.
"We can't be passive consumers of this information and and do our jobs effectively to protect the American people," Rice said, according to CNN.
"Imagine if we saw something of grave significance that involved Russia, China, or anyone else, interfering in our political process and we needed to understand the significance of that. To not understand it would be dereliction of duty."
Rice also said that any unmasking of names is the responsibility of the intelligence committee, and that she could only give requests. She denied leaking or unmasking the names herself.
"What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” said former U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova to The Daily Caller April 3.
"The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” DiGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls."
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California released a statement through his Twitter account April 4, describing the nature of the surveillance and explained "unmasking." He accused the White House of complicating the release of the intelligence information after Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California told reporters that Trump associates were monitored by "incidental surveillance," according to The Hill.