Watchdog group sues State Department for Obama admin documents


On Friday, a government watchdog group filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking all documents involving former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power who purportedly sought to unmask more than 260 Americans during 2016, an election year.

Judicial Watch explained in a news release, “unmasking refers generally to the practice of political appointees obtaining the identities of American citizens referenced in intelligence surveillance of foreign nationals.”

From August 2013 to January 2017, Samantha Power, 47, served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under the Obama administration. According to Judicial Watch, Powers unmasked over 260 persons during in her last year as U.N. ambassador in an attempt to uncover associates of President Trump. “She was unmasking at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016, even seeking information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “Unmasking and then illegally leaking the names of Trump team members caught up in foreign intelligence gathering would have been an incredible, but unsurprising abuse by the Obama administration.”

Fitton also questioned whether the “Clinton-DNC dossier” was also “used as justification to abuse intelligence data to ‘unmask’ American citizens to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Donald Trump. And why is the Tillerson State Department stonewalling Judicial Watch’s FOIA investigation into this potentially illegal conduct by its agency employees?”

In its lawsuit, Judicial Watch is seeking all requests for information submitted to any intelligence community member agency by Power relating to the following:

  • Any actual or suspected effort by the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government to influence or otherwise interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
  • The alleged hacking of computer systems utilized by the Democratic National Committee and/or the Clinton presidential campaign.
  • Any actual or suspected communication between any member of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team and any official or employee of the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government.
  • The identities of U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.

Judicial Watch has also attempted to obtain documents related to Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s unmasking of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team.” In its May 2017 response, the National Security Agency disclosed that all such material had been moved to the Obama Library, where it cannot be accessed for up to five years.

Samantha Power

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