Efforts in the unmasking investigation are heating up.
And new information has just dropped on Samantha Power as well as Ben Rhodes, two significant figures in the Obama administration.
From Free Beacon:
Former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power is believed to have made “hundreds” of unmasking requests to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his presidential transition team, according to multiple sources who said the behavior is unprecedented for an official in her position.
Power was first identified by the Washington Free Beacon last month as a central figure in a congressional investigation into efforts by senior Obama administration officials to obtain classified intelligence information in what many allege was an effort to undermine President Donald Trump and his incoming national security team.
She is believed to have made the “hundreds of requests” in the final year of the Obama administration, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The speculation was that the purpose was to orchestrate leaks to undermine the Trump administration.
Rep. Devin Nunes outlined the concern in a letter to the DNI Dan Coats, asking for help in the investigation.
Nunes disclosed in his letter that the former Obama administration had “easy access” to sensitive classified information and that they may have used it to “achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”
Congressional investigators uncovered that “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.”
Little justification was provided for the request of this sensitive classified information, which government insiders described as outside the purview of a U.N. ambassador.
One official noted that the amount of unmasking from someone in a position that really had no need for unmasking of raw intel was in and of itself disturbing.
“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 [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.”
Ben Rhodes has also been identified as a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation by lawmakers.
“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 the 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.”
“More pointedly,” the letter states, “some of the requests for unminimized U.S. person information were followed by anonymous leaks of those names to the media.”
Sounds like they’re not even able to come up with convincing cover lies to explain away all the unmasking requests.
This is going to be very interesting…