Colleague Mary Kissel of The Wall Street Journal editorial board and I discussed recently with Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Select Intelligence Committee the thinking behind the committee’s issuing subpoenas seeking details about unmaskings of American citizens that were requested by three senior Obama administration officials, former CIA director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former UN ambassador Samantha Power.
“The subpoenas,” Nunes explained, “actually went to the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI, requesting specifically, of those three individuals that were named, the unmaskings they have done, that they did, from the time period of 2016, the entire year, leading up to Jan. 20 of this year.”
Quickly Nunes focused on the politics of the unmasking.
“I can’t get into why we chose those individuals, but clearly this is just further escalation in the concern we have of the unmaskings of Americans by the senior leaders of the Obama administration. Americans that didn’t know about it, and, of course, potentially Trump transition officials.”
Nunes clarified his concerns.
“Every American is masked. The intelligence agencies are bound by law to mask all American citizens that get picked up in foreign collection. What has to happen, if you want to find out who the American is—there’s a process and procedure in place for that. It’s actually very uncommon in most cases, and seldom happens. But the concern I have had, that I expressed publicly, quite publicly, actually, a couple months ago, was that it became excessive. That Obama administration officials were unmasking people in ...Read More HERE