White House raises questions about former national security adviser Susan Rice

The Trump administration accuses Rice of unmasking, or requesting the names of people in surveillance who would otherwise not be identified.
3:18 | 04/05/17

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Transcript for White House raises questions about former national security adviser Susan Rice
Thank you. We turn to the other major headline involving the white house, after president trump's claim that president Obama wiretapped trump tower. Did Susan rice request that members of the trump team were unmasked ? Here's Cecilia Vega. Reporter: It was exactly one month ago that president trump accused president Obama of wiretapping him in trump tower. And tonight, the president's conservative allies say Obama's former national security adviser Susan rice revealed the identities of trump associates swept up in foreign surveillance. From rice today, a firm denial. This is not anything political has been alleged. The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That is absolutely false. Reporter: Sources tell ABC news that as the intelligence community investigated Russia's election meddling, in some cases, trump campaign and transition officials were picked up in surveillance. Rice requesting their identities. Today rice said she did indeed ask to know names. A request known as unmasking, done in cases where U.S. Security is at risk. American identities that would otherwise be anonymous are revealed to those with security clearance, like rice. In order to understand the importance of the report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information as to who that U.S. Official was. Reporter: Rice wouldn't say whether any of those names were trump associates and she vehemently denied that she leaked any names. I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would. Reporter: And says the unmasking was a key part of her job. We can't be passive consumers of this information and not -- and do our jobs effectively to protect the American people. Imagine if we saw something of grave significance that involved Russia, or China, or anyone else, interfering in our political process and we needed to understand the significance of that. For us not to try to understand it would be dereliction of duty. Reporter: Republicans, not buying it. Senator Rand Paul tweeting, "Smoking gun found." Saying -- So now we know that someone in the Obama administration was eavesdropping and specifically searching a databank looking for the trump people. No. No. That's a big deal. Reporter: Rice maintains there was nothing illegal, no smoking gun, and no wiretapping of trump tower. There was no such collection or surveillance on trump tower or trump individuals and it is very important to understand, and by that I mean directed by the white house or targeted by trump individuals. Let's gets to Cecilia Vega, and some Republicans are calling for rice to testify. Where does the white house stand? Reporter: They're not weighing in on this one just yet. They do call the reports about unmasking troubling, but the calls growing louder. They just sent a letter demanding that rice be called upon to testify. Thank you. We turn now to an ABC news

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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