Former national security adviser Susan Rice said last month she knew nothing about reports that the intelligence community incidentally collected information on Donald Trump's transition team following the Nov. 8 election.
On Monday, however, Bloomberg reported that Rice personally requested that the identities of "masked" Americans in U.S. intelligence reports linked to President Trump's transition team and campaign be "unmasked."
PBS' Judy Woodruff asked Rice on March 22 to comment on a press conference held by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., in which he revealed the incidental collection.
"I know nothing about this," Rice stated flatly in her PBS Newshour interview. "I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today."
Rice added, "So, today, I really don't know to what Chairman Nunes was referring, but he said that whatever he was referring to was a legal, lawful surveillance, and that it was potentially incidental collection on American citizens."
The former national security adviser went on to criticize the president's highly contested claim that former President Obama had Trump Tower's "wires tapped" during the 2016 election.
However, the Bloomberg report published Monday casts doubt on her flat denial that she knew anything about the intelligence activities surrounding Trump and his people.
"The pattern of Rice's requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government's policy on 'unmasking' the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally," the report read, citing multiple anonymous officials.
The person who discovered that Rice had made several "unmasking" requests was reportedly Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was brought into the Trump administration by retired Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn resigned just a few weeks into his term as national security advisor after it was revealed he had misrepresented his previous communications with Russian officials to Vice President Mike Pence.
"In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice's multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy," Bloomberg reported.
Rep. Nunes, who chairs the House intelligence committee, has resisted calls that he recuse himself from the investigation into Russia meddling in the election.
(h/t Washington Free Beacon)