The former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Powers, is reported to have filed “hundreds” of unmasking requests in order to identify several individuals from classified intelligence reports, in relation to the Trump transition team. However, these requests could have only been fulfilled if higher-ups in other departments gave the go-ahead for this deeply suspicious behavior.
“Asking for an unmasking is rare at the [National Security Council] or the State Department. It is frankly shocking that anyone would be asking for dozens, and if there are really hundreds it is indefensible,” said the former official. “It does make me wonder why [the National Security Agency] didn’t stop her [Power], by questioning this practice and getting the head of NSA to raise it with the president or the national security adviser.”
Last month, Power was discovered to have played a key role in former president Barack Obama’s administration officials’ attempts to get their hands on confidential intelligence reports in what many believe was a bid to somehow undermine President Donald Trump and his agendas.
Several current and former US government officials believe that Power is the anonymous official who made “hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration.”
Attempts made by Obama administration officials to acquire names of Trump’s aides mentioned in unverified intelligence reports have added fuel to the fire surrounding speculations that several leaks were planned by Obama era officials in order to damage the current administration, as well as smear some of Trump’s closest aides.
Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (Cali.), who is in charge of the investigation, has requested that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to assist with the investigation.
In his letter to Coats, Nunes mentioned that the Obama administration enjoyed “easy access” to confidential information and they might have used it to “achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”
Investigators from the congressional committee discovered “one official [whose] position has no apparent intelligence-related function”—now believed to be Power—”made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration.”
According to government officials, the requests for such information was not properly justified; making it even more sketchy as it is clearly outside the jurisdiction of a UN ambassador.
“Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why that specific official required the personal information for the performance of his or her official duties,” according to Nunes.
Intelligence Committee and House Oversight Committee members have talked about the possibility of speaking with Ben Rhodes, the former National Security Council member; who is also known to have created a pro-Iran “echo chamber” in-house, to deliberately mislead the American people and the media about the widely acclaimed landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
Several lawmakers have identified Rhodes as one of the central figures of the leak campaign, which involved sharing the names of Trump’s associates and officials to the media, to discredit the current administration somehow.
“The [intelligence] committee also understands that Obama-era officials sought the identification of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports,” according to Nunes’s letter. “However, there was no meaningful explanations offered by these officials as to why they needed or how they would use this U.S. personal information, and thus, the committee is left with the impression that these officials may have used this information for improper purposes, including the possibility of leaking.”
The letter concludes, “most damningly, “some of the requests for unminimized U.S. person information were followed by anonymous leaks of those names to the media.”