Congressional testimony by President Barack Obama’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, about the “unmasking” of U.S. citizens’ names she requested in hundreds of foreign intelligence intercepts by the National Security Agency, has raised new questions about how the sensitive information was ordered up, and subsequently handled.
Power spoke to the House Intelligence Committee on Oct. 13 behind closed doors, and what she said is still cloaked in secrecy. But on Oct. 17, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News: “Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.” Gowdy said little else about the session.
The sheer volume of such requests submitted to U.S. intelligence authorities in her name was already unusual. But if she did not initiate them, then who did, and why? Was the resulting information delivered to Power, as the normal protocols of handling such constitutionally-protected information require? Was she even aware of the gush of highly sensitive and secret information solicited under her name?
So far, Power has not responded to queries on those issues, which were emailed by Fox News to her Harvard University office on Oct. 19.
According to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a Fox News contributor, if someone submitted unmasking requests in Power’s name without her knowledge or consent, it would be “potentially criminal.”