Susan E. Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, denied any wrongdoing on Tuesday after reports that she sought during last year’s campaign to learn the identities of associates of President Trump caught up in electronic surveillance of foreigners.
Ms. Rice said that she sometimes asked for the names of Americans whose identities were redacted in intelligence reports given to her in order to understand the context of what was going on. The purpose, she said, was “to do our jobs,” but “absolutely not for any political purpose, to spy, expose, anything.”
She added that she never made public the identities of any associates of Mr. Trump mentioned in intelligence surveillance. “I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would,” Ms. Rice told the journalist Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.
The comments were Ms. Rice’s first public response to Republicans who have argued that “the real story,” as President Trump put it, is not the F.B.I. investigation into contacts between his associates and Russia but the conduct of the Obama administration.