Former Obama administration UN ambassador Samantha Power requested the ‘unmasking’ of Americans named in intelligence reports more than 260 times during her last year in office, according to a new report.
Power’s total his more than one request per workday of 2016 – far exceeding the numbers typical of someone in her position, which in the past have come in the low single digits, according to a report by Fox News.
Unmasking occurs when a government official so-empowered requests the name of an American who appears in an intelligence repot be revealed.
In Power’s case, this activity extended up until shortly before Obama left office, according to the Fox report.
Former Obama administration UN ambassador Samantha Power requested the ‘unmasking’ of Americans named in intelligence reports more than 260 times, Fox News reported
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is part of his panel’s inquiry into whether any officials engaged in political unmaskings to discredit Trump officials.
Nunes removed himself from his panel’s Russia probe after his trips to the White House where he viewed intelligence documents and reviewed unmaskings.
In July Nunes ,wrote Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to complain about ‘partisan’ unmaskings.
‘We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information,’ Nunes wrote.
Former UN ambassador Samantha Power attends the 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City
He continued: ‘The committee has 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.’
The letter continued: ‘Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.’
Power’s lawyer, David Pressman, wrote: ‘While serving as our Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Power was also a member of the National Security Council responsible for advising the President on the full-range of threats confronting the United States. Any insinuation that Ambassador Power was involved in leaking classified information is absolutely false.’
She is expected to testify on Capitol Hill next month.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) leaves while Senior Advisor Jared Kushner leaves meets with the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill July 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. Nunes has removed himself from his panel’s Russia probe but not an inquiry into unmasking
Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor speaks during a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Samantha Power (L) and Ben Rhodes from the film “The Final Year” pose for a portrait during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Intercontinental Hotel on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada
Committee subpoenas seeking information on unmasking requests have mentioned Power, former National Security advisor Susan Rice, and former CIA Director John Brennan.
Rice and Brennan have acknowledged making unmasking requests but said it was for legitimate reasons.
Officials are allowed to forward such requests when they need the information to understand the intelligence they are reviewing.
In one such request, Rice sought the identity of Trump officials who met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates.
The sheakh came to New York in December of 2016 without telling the Obama administration, and met with Trump officials including fired National Security advisor Mike Flynn, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
She told the committee she was curious about why the Sheikh came here and requested the unmasking. She said the information was for internal use and she did not disclose classified information, the Washington Examiner reported.
Fired Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (C) sits before U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a joint press conference at the White House on February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Obama officials sometimes sought the identity of Americans when their names were obscured in intelligence reports
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meets with Russian businessmen at the Moscow Kremlin.Congressional committees are examining Russian interference in the presidential election and contacts with Trump associates, as well as unmasking activities