A group of former President Obama’s top aides made hundreds of requests to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA).
Nunes is accusing former Obama aides of targeting citizens, some of them being part of the Trump transition team, during the 2016 presidential race.
In a letter to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Nunes said the requests may have been politically motivated.
“We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. persons 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.
Nunes accuses Obama political aides of making hundreds of requests during Obama’s last year in office, most lacking justification or acceptable reasons in the intelligence community. His letter calls it a “serious deficiency,” and notes many of those lacking justification came form senior government officials.
“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. “Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.”
Some sources have identified then-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power as that offending official.
Nunes apparently intends to introduce new legislation which will clarify the unmasking process. Rules surrounding unmasking were loosened in 2011 under President Obama, allowing political aides to request the process in order to help them understand intelligence reports.
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