Top Republican: Controversy surrounding Susan Rice unmasking was 'created' by Devin Nunes

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Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) on Friday accused his counterpart in the House, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), of creating a false narrative about Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice. But clearly there were individuals unmasked. Former Pres. Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have also met with the committee.

Nunes raised the notion earlier this year that Rice improperly requested the identities of Americans incidentally surveilled, claiming he viewed intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were among those caught up in surveillance of foreign targets. But requests by top administration officials - and policymakers like those that sit on the congressional intelligence committees - to identify which USA persons foreign agents are speaking to or about would not have been unusual or against the law.

"The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes, and I'll wait to go through our full evaluation to see if there was anything improper that happened", Burr told CNN in comments reported after his committee interviewed Rice in a closed session on Friday.

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"Ambassador Rice met voluntarily with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today as part of the committee's bipartisan investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election", said Erin Pelton, a spokesperson for Rice.

A Democratic committee aide told Business Insider last month that Nunes and other Republicans on the committee were trying to make questions about unmasking "the focal issue" of the committee's probe into Russia's election interference because "they're trying to divert attention away from the investigation" into Trump's campaign.

Burr did not raise concerns about allegations that Rice improperly unmasked any U.S. individuals, an issue first raised by House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

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