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Friday, July 28, 2017

Obama official made 'hundreds of unmasking requests'

In the final year of Obama's failed presidency, one of his officials made "hundreds of unmasking requests" according to a letter from a top Republican who raised concerns that the requests were made for "improper purposes."

"Unmasking" refers to a formal request to identify Americans in an intelligence document.

Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, has questioned whether the unmasking was improperly sought by Obama officials in unmasking the names of the Trump transition team.

The person he seemed to be referring to regarding the hundreds of unmasking requests is Samantha Power. 

"[T]his Committee has learned that one official, whose position has no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration," Nunes wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Nunes wrote that only one request "offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why" the identity was needed for official duties.

Three top Obama administration officials were specifically named: Former CIA director John Brennan; former national security adviser Susan "It Was The Video" Rice; and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power.

David Pressman, Power's lawyer, stressed that her responsibilities in her capacity as a member of the National Security Council but said she will cooperate with Congress.

"Ambassador Power strongly supports any bipartisan effort to address the serious threat to our national security posed by Russia's interference in our electoral process, and is eager to engage with the Senate and House committees on the timeline they have requested," he wrote. "While serving as our Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of the National Security Council responsible for advising the President on the full-range of threats confronting the United States, and long before receiving an invitation to engage the Congressional committees, Ambassador Power was unambiguous about her support of bipartisan efforts to determine the full extent of this threat to our national security."

Which is why she unmasked as many Donald Trump campaign team personnel that she could get away with and not raise eyebrows.

Nunes' letter said he plans to introduce a bill requiring "individual, fact-based justifications" for unmasking requests.

"Cabinet members and other senior political leaders cannot be permitted to continue to seek access to U.S. person information within disseminated intelligence reports without documenting a specific, fact-based requirement for the information," he wrote.

Nunes said that "Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports" without offering any "meaningful explanation" as to why they needed or how they would use the information.

Nunes is concerned the information could be used for nefarious purposes, including leaking. He even noted that some of the requests were "followed by anonymous leaks of those name to the media."

So it walks and quacks like a duck.