According to Lake, documents showing that Rice made the unmasking requests were uncovered by the NSC's former senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was sacked by McMaster on Wednesday.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has sacked yet another member of the National Security Council today, with the White House announcing that the senior director for intelligence programs Ezra Cohen-Watnick has been removed from his position, with the requisite praising of his past service. White House officials have said the president has yet to decide on any new moves. A good lawyer would likely want to shut that kind of freelancing down right away, especially if what Cohen-Watnick had found didn't amount to anything that helped the President or the White House. Last week, McMaster fired Derek Harvey, the NSC's top Middle East adviser.
Cohen-Watnick's removal comes after the revelation by The Atlantic on Wednesday of the dismissal of Rich Higgins, another Iran hawk who was the NSC's director of strategic planning. On Monday, newly minted White House Chief of Staff John Kelly dismissed brand new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. McMaster has cleared her of the charges leveled against her this spring by members of the Trump administration, along with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in what was a transparent effort to confuse the public about the nature of the probe into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation during last year's election.
The White House confirmed the decision late Wednesday afternoon. But White House officials told Circa that, given the remaining suspicions around Rice, her access should have been curtailed or revoked until the end of the investigation.
All four officials were considered Trump allies who shared the anti-globalist views of Flynn and Bannon. Soon after his appointment, McMaster had sidelined K.T. McFarland, Flynn's deputy national security adviser and now ambassador to Singapore.
Earlier this year, Cohen-Watnick came under scrutiny for his alleged roundabout role in providing information to GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, showing members of Trump's team included in foreign surveillance reports collected by United States intelligence. The three-star general has recently been ousting some of the more conspiratorial-minded holdovers from Mike Flynn's short tenure as national-security adviser.
Additionally, top Obama officials continue to come and go in and out of the White House compound as they please. McMaster presented the president with a plan to bolster the effort in Afghanistan after a stormy meeting of national security officials, only to have Trump reject it.