(National Sentinel) Scandal: The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has accused political operatives for former President Obama of making hundreds of inappropriate requests to unmask Americans during last year’s presidential campaign — and of course, none of the requests were made to unmask anyone tied to Hillary Clinton.
As The Hill reported, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., made the accusations in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates, adding that the requests were made without any specific justification as to why unmasking the names was necessary.
“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 in the letter to Coats.
Naturally, the letter was leaked to The Hill, which, again, demonstrates just how politicized the intelligence community has become in the age of Obama and President Donald J. Trump.
The Hill reported further:
In March, Nunes disclosed that he had seen data suggesting Trump campaign and transition officials were having their names unmasked by departing officials in the Obama White House.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice and CIA Director John Brennan have acknowledged making such requests though they insisted the requests were for legitimate work reasons.
Nunes recused himself from his committee’s work on its investigation over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign after a controversy over his charges about Obama-era unmasking.
The chairman had reviewed intelligence reports on White House grounds that he said showed unmasking of Trump officials by Obama aides. Democrats accused him of working with the White House to make the disclosures.
He also said that, unlike career intelligence professionals, the requests from senior Obama administration operatives “made remarkably few individualized justifications for access” to the names.
“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,” Nunes wrote, according to The Hill. “Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.”
Sources familiar with the letter told The Hill the official Nunes was referencing was then-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.
Nunes also told Coates that “Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports,” adding he will introduce legislation aimed at addressing concerns surrounding the unmasking.
In 2011, The Hill reported, “Obama loosened the rules to make it easier for intelligence officials and his own political aides to request that the names be unmasked so they could better understand raw intelligence being gathered overseas.”
In other words, Obama made sure his political operatives had ready access to information on political foes.