There may have been more than 260 unmasking requests made under former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power’s name during the final year of the Obama administration, identifying U.S. persons from intelligence intercepts, but she was not the person who made the requests.
That is the incredible story Power has told the House Select Committee on Intelligence, according to U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), speaking with Fox News’ Brett Baier.
“That’s her testimony and she was pretty emphatic in it. The surveillance community, the intelligence community has assigned this number of requests to her. Her perspective, her testimony is ‘they may be under my name, but I did not make those requests,’” Gowdy said.
Gowdy said the requests, according to Power, “greatly exceeded by an exponential factor the requests she actually made.”
This raises a number of possibilities. One is that Power is telling the truth, and somebody else, in her name, went into the intelligence community’s system to make requests unmasking U.S. persons who turned up in intelligence intercepts.
If so, it makes it look like the reason was to prevent anybody else from figuring out who was really making the requests.
The other possibility is that Power is simply not being truthful and is trying to protect herself because she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to in requesting U.S. person identities from intelligence intercepts.
Assuming the former, the idea that somebody felt a need to cover their tracks makes the whole matter look incredibly suspicious. Even more suspicious than if she had made the requests herself.
In a July 27 letter to National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that “Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports. However, there was no meaningful explanation offered by these officials as to why they needed or how they would use this U.S. person 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, some of the requests for unminimized U.S. person information were followed by anonymous leaks of those names to the media.”
So, somebody may have been digging through the intercepts in a way to cover up who was actually receiving the information, making it appear to be Power. And somebody was unmasking Trump officials that then wound up in newspapers.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Either Power is telling the truth, and she’s just a patsy. In which case, somebody used her credentials in the nation’s top intelligence systems to get information on U.S. persons in intelligence intercepts when they shouldn’t have. Or she isn’t, and it was her and she shouldn’t have done it. Neither is good. This whole thing stinks.