by WorldTribune Staff, February 18, 2018
In her last year as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power reportedly “unmasked” more than 260 Americans as part of an effort to track associates of Donald Trump although she later testified the requests were made not by her but in her name.
A government watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department seeking records of Power’s “unmasking” attempts relating to the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Judicial Watch said it filed the suit after the State Department failed to respond to an October 31, 2017 FOIA request seeking information about Power’s “unusual unmasking requests.”
“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,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“Was the Clinton-DNC dossier also used as justification to abuse intelligence data 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?”
On September 20, 2017, Fox News reported that Power “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.”
On October 13, 2017, Power told the House Intelligence Committee she did not make the unmasking requests. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, stated that “Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.”
In a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch said it was told by the National Security Council (NSC) in May 2017 that materials regarding unmasking by Obama national security adviser Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.