As more information about the Obama administration’s treatment of the Trump team comes to light, facts suggest the White House was using its resources to politically stymie the president-elect.
As seen on Fox News, host Tucker Carlson debated a former deputy assistant secretary of state regarding former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s high number of unmasking requests toward the end of her appointment. Carlson accused Power’s unmasking of having a political motivation and asked the official: “How many terror attacks do you think Samantha Power thwarted by unmasking 200 names?”
Carlson referred to a Fox News report that reveals Power unmasked 260 names in her last days working for the Obama administration. According to unnamed sources, the unmasking exceeded the rate of more than one per day.
As The Hill reports, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on July 27 in which he claimed to have learned of a White House official who had unmasked hundreds of names.
Nunes’s letter mentioned, “one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration.” The “official” mentioned is now thought to be Power.
Because peoples’ names are kept hidden on official intelligence documents in order to protect those individuals, “unmasking” those names is a practice that is done with great discretion. Former UN ambassadors have made unmasking requests, but the number has been in the double digits. It has never been hundreds, as with Power.
Admiral Mike Rogers, who serves as National Security Agency director, described the protocol for unmasking, stressing that it must be done as part of the requester’s “official duties” and only if the unmasking is essential for the intelligence to be understood.
“We [the NSA] apply two criteria in response to their request: number one, you must make the request in writing. Number two, the request must be made on the basis of your official duties, not the fact that you just find this report really interesting and you’re just curious.”
“It has to tie to your job and finally, I said two but there’s a third criteria, and is the basis of the request must be that you need this identity to understand the intelligence you’re reading.” But Carlson argues Power’s unmasking requests went outside the bounds of her position as UN ambassador. The Fox News host described Power as “a very political appointee.”
As Politico notes, Power did not have a background in foreign policy prior to becoming UN ambassador. She was a freelance journalist whose work appeared in U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and The Economist, among others. She wrote extensively on the subject of genocide and traveled to Europe on trips funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
Power’s career in journalism led her to become an adviser to Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign. She went on to become a State Department employee and later a UN ambassador. Tucker censures Power as a “political” appointee whose unprecedented unmasking was done for political purposes–not to protect Americans.
Carlson asked the official, “Don’t you think we should be a little uncomfortable?” Considering that Power’s unmasking efforts were done so easily, and well beyond her official duties, Americans should be more than just uncomfortable with that kind of unchecked power.