Once upon a time, senior Obama Administration officials insisted that “nothing of the sort occurred” when asked about the inappropriate ‘unmasking’ of Trump Administration officials.
Seems like a bygone era. We know that unmasking did indeed occur. And a new report indicates that it took place at an alarming rate.
Multiple sources have confirmed with Fox News that Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was making ‘unmasking’ requests in the final months of Obama’s presidency at a clip of more than one per day.
Every single working day in those final months, Power was trying reveal the names of Americans who had been incidentally collected in intelligence reports.
The former ambassador is also alleged to have made requests in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration.
“Unmaskings are supposed to be rare,” the Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial, “and if the mere ambassador to the U.N. could demand them, what privacy protection was the Obama White House really offering U.S. citizens?”
It remains unclear why a U.N. ambassador would be unmasking American citizens in the first place, a process that, if conducted for genuine intelligence purposes, is legal, but, if used for partisan political purposes, remains illegal.
In July, Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to inform him that his committee had learned “that one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration.”
While other ambassadors have made unmasking requests in the past, those number in the low double digits. Power’s requests exceeded 260.
The subsequent leaking of ‘unmasked’ U.S. citizens to the media, something that took place ad nauseam during President Trump’s first months of his term, is unlawful.
You may recall Rep. Trey Gowdy laying into former CIA director John Brennan, asking about his knowledge of Power’s role in unmasking. Brennan said he could not recall any such requests being made, somethings that seems unlikely if Power was making the requests nearly every day.
GOWDY: “Do you recall any U.S. Ambassadors asking that names be unmasked?”
BRENNAN: “I don’t. I don’t know. Maybe it’s ringing a vague bell, but I could not answer with any confidence.”
The report on Power’s frequency in unmasking comes at a particularly relevant time, as she prepares to give testimony before the House Intelligence Committee next month.
The most pressing question is: Did President Obama know that she was taking this action?
Do you think Power will have serious legal problems for unmasking Americans? Do you think President Obama knew what she was doing? Share your thoughts below.
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