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Nunes Moving Against Obama Officials Who Violated U.S. Laws on Classified Information

August 3, 2017 (EIRNS)—House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is on the warpath against senior Obama administration officials, who, in their zeal to crush the Trump campaign and Presidency, broke U.S. law in "unmasking" and then leaking to the press National Security Agency-gathered intelligence on U.S. citizens. (Unmasking is the name given to a formal request to identify Americans in an intelligence document.)

Nunes wrote National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats on July 27, requesting technical assistance in drafting legislation to reform procedures for the unmasking of U.S. citizens’ names in intelligence reports. What is explosive about the letter, available on the Committee’s website, is its description of how senior Obama administration officials were given "easy access to U.S. person information," which was then leaked to the media:

"For example, this 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"

—emphasis in the original—and,

"of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate, and articulated why that specific official required the personal information for the performance of his or her official duties,"

Nunes wrote.

The Hill reported, as did many media, that "sources familiar with the Nunes letter identified the official as then-U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power." Nunes’s letter elaborated:

"The Committee also understands that Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports. However, there was no meaningful explanation offered by these officials as to why they needed or how they would use this U.S. person information.... More pointedly, some of the requests for unminimized U.S. person information were followed by anonymous leaks of those names to the media."

This not a matter of minor misdemeanors. As Nunes’s letter notes:

"Unauthorized disclosures, whether the result of disgruntled employees or for the advancement of partisan political ideology are crimes... All leaks of classified information must be vigorously prosecuted."

On August 1, Nunes followed up with a letter to NSA chief Adm. Michael Rogers, requesting information on the total number of "unmasking" requests made by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, in the 13 months preceding President Trump’s inauguration. According to Fox News, Nunes’s letter asks for documents on Rhodes be sent by August 21.

The naming of Rhodes brings the number of top Obama officials under investigation by the House Intelligence Committee to four, with former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and CIA Director John Brennan, being the other two besides Rhodes and Power fingered as mass "unmaskers."