White House lawyers discovered last month that Susan Rice, a national security adviser in the Obama administration, requested that identities of U.S. citizens be revealed in raw intelligence reports connected to President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE's transition team, according to a Monday Bloomberg View report.
U.S. officials told Bloomberg that the White House discovered Rice's requests during a National Security Council review of how the government handles the “unmasking” of American citizens whose communications and information are incidentally collected in broader foreign surveillance. Those names are normally redacted in reports.
Foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, as well as conversations between foreign officials and Trump aides, were reportedly monitored during the government's usual surveillance work.
Some of the conversations monitored included information related to whom the Trump team met with, the foreign policy views of some Trump associates and plans for the new administration.
Bloomberg reported that Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council senior director for intelligence, spearheaded the review into unmasking policies and first learned that Rice made multiple requests about individuals who were connected with the Trump transition.
Cohen-Watnick then notified the White House General Counsel office of Rice’s actions.
Rice did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment, but last month she said she had no knowledge about any information being incidentally collected on Trump transition officials.
"I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from [House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Devin] Nunes on that account today,” Rice said on "PBS NewsHour.”
The House and Senate Intelligence committees are both leading investigations into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia as part of a larger probe into Russia's attempts to influence the presidential election.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) held a controversial press conference and briefing with Trump last month about reports he had seen suggesting that members of the Trump transition had been incidentally surveilled.
He said he was concerned about the unmasking of U.S. citizens. It was later reported that two White House officials helped convey that information to him, including Cohen-Watnick, bypassing the rest of Nunes's House committee.
There is still no evidence to support Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.