House intel chair says Obama political operatives sought unmasking of HUNDREDS of Americans, especially those tied to Trump campaign

The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has accused political operatives in the previous administration of unmasking hundreds of American citizens for no good reason other than, he believes, for political purposes.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates that most of the requests for unmasking were not made by career intelligence officials but rather political operatives working on behalf of former President Barack Obama. What’s more, he said, many of the requests dealt primarily with members of the Trump campaign.

“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 his letter, as reported by The Hill.

Not surprisingly, the letter was leaked to the publication.

The news site noted 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.

What’s really maddening is that in March, Nunes succumbed to Democratic and Left-wing media pressure to recuse himself from his own committee’s investigation of alleged Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election after reviewing intelligence on White House grounds that the Obama regime had been unmasking several Trump campaign officials. Democrats accused him of working on behalf of the White House, which wasn’t true but wouldn’t have been criminal or unethical if it had been true; after all, it wasn’t as if any other Republican committee chairman or leaders were coming to President Donald J. Trump’s assistance. (Related: Senate Judiciary Committee honing in on Obama ‘unmasking’ operatives.)

In his letter to Coates, Nunes outlined a number of concerns and observations, stating that the total number of unmasking requests of American citizens by Obama political operatives numbered in the hundreds, and most fell within Obama’s final year in office.

The Hill did not report whether any members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign were requested to be unmasked, and it’s not clear if Nunes mentioned to Coates where he’d seen any evidence of Clinton campaign members being unmasked or requested to be unmasked. But given the heavy focus on Team Trump unmasking, it’s a safe bet that The Hill would have reported it if Clinton’s team had similarly been compromised.

Nunes also noted that the Obama officials — unlike seasoned intelligence professionals — “made remarkably few individualized justifications for access” to the names. “Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports,” he added.

“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 said in his letter. “Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.”

Sources told The Hill that the official Nunes was referencing was former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

In May, Circa News reported that the Russian and unmasking inquiries in Congress had expanded to include Power:

The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas on Wednesday in its wide-ranging probe of Russian election influence and intelligence gathering, and for the first time demanded to know whether President Obama’s former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power sought to unmask spy information on Americans.

Why would Power need to have the names of Americans unmasked? As a U.N. ambassador, she’s a diplomatic functionary, not a national security figure.

Circa News reported further that the names of more than 3,100 Americans were unmasked in 2015 and 2016, during the presidential election cycle, according to data that has been released by the government.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

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