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.
President Trump took Nunes's findings as vindication of his allegations that President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the campaign, a claim that FBI Director James Comey and others said they have no evidence to support. On Wednesday, she said of Trump's comments, "I'm not going to dignify the president's ludicrous charge with a comment".
By way of explanation, Rice told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that unmasking is a tool to help consumers of intelligence - which is what she was as national-security adviser - to understand the context of overheard discussions. These names are usually redacted or even given vague descriptors like "Male 1". In an exclusive interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Monday, April 4, Rice flatly denied allegations she tried to "unmask" Trump campaign officials caught on surveillance by US intelligence services with ill intent.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.
Trump, his aides and other Republicans have suggested that Rice requested the information for political purposes and leaked them in news media reports.
Nevertheless, Rice, who has a history of being a controversial figure within the Obama administration, was involved in examining intelligence related to individuals affiliated with Trump's campaign and transition team, and her actions are being heavily scrutinized. "I think she ought to testify under oath on this", Paul said, according to a Hill report.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer cast Rice's handling of intelligence in the waning days of Obama's term as suspicious, although he did not detail what he found to be inappropriate.
"So who's right - Trump and his allies, or Rice?" Nunes has denied acting on behalf of the White House. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times this week. To many observers, Nunes' effort backfired because it simply provided more evidence of contact between the Trump team and Russian officials who tried to influence the USA election.
"There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a USA person was referred to, name not provided, just US person", Rice told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer then attempted to implicate the Government Communications Headquarters, the intelligence service of the United Kingdom. Neither will happen, however, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that any investigations into the claims made against Rice would be handled by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The House Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, praised Nunes' recusal.