Someone within the Obama administration’s intelligence apparatus made requests to unmask the identity of Americans named in intelligence reports on behalf of Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
That’s what Power told the House Intelligence Committee last week during a closed-door interview.
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy revealed in an interview on Fox News on Tuesday that Power was “emphatic” on the point that someone else in the Obama administration made the unmasking requests that have been attributed to her.
Fox News recently reported that Power made approximately 260 unmasking requests — a rate of one per business day — in her final year in office, including up through the end of Obama’s term.
Unmasking has become an issue because someone inside the Obama administration unmasked the identities of Trump associates identified in classified intelligence reports collected by the intelligence community during surveillance of foreign targets. Some of those details were illegally leaked to the media.
Power has been scrutinized of late because of the high number of unmasking requests linked to her.
But Gowdy, a member of the Intelligence committee, said that Power “was pretty emphatic” last week in disputing that she made 260 unmasking requests.
“She would say those requests to unmask may have been attributed to her, but they greatly exceed by an exponential factor the requests she actually made,” Gowdy told Fox’s Bret Baier.
“Her perspective, her testimony is, ‘they may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.'”
Gowdy did not say whether Power provided any information about how someone else may have made unmasking requests in her name. But the Republican said that the issue needs to be cleared up soon, partially because Congress is weighing reauthorization of a program that deals with intelligence community unmasking.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of that,” Gowdy said.
“If there is someone else making requests on behalf of a principal in the intelligence community we need to know that because we’re getting ready to reauthorize a program that also has a masking component to it,” he added, referring to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
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