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On the Warpath: House Republicans Just Upped the Ante

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On the Warpath: House Republicans Just Upped the Ante

Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is now accusing top political aides of President Obama of making hundreds of requests during the 2016 presidential race to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports. They included Trump transition officials.

Nunes shared this information in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. He said that the requests were made without specific justifications on why the information was needed.

“We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information,” Nunes wrote in the letter to Coats.

Obama White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice and CIA Director John Brennan have acknowledged making such requests though they maintained that the requests were for legitimate work reasons.

In the Thursday letter, Nunes revealed that the total requests for Americans’ names by Obama political aides in in the hundreds during the former president’s last year in office. Nunes called the lack of proper justification as a “serious deficiency.” Nunes continued in the letter to say, “The 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,” Nunes wrote. “Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate.”

Some sources have indicated that the official in question is the former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power. Power’s has not responded to any requests for a comment.

Nunes is also saying that he intends to introduce legislation that will address concerns raised by this investigation into unmasking names. In 2011, Obama loosened the rules and made it easier for intelligence officials and the presidential political aides to request that names be unmasked. This move was criticized by both liberal groups like the ACLU and conservatives alike because of the implications regarding privacy issues.

Additionally, CNBC is reporting that House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee just “called for a new special counsel — to investigate Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Loretta Lynch. House Judiciary Committee Republicans on Thursday called for a new special counsel — to investigate Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Loretta Lynch.

Hillary Clinton delivers remarks while being honored during the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Hillary Clinton delivers remarks while being honored during the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Republicans said they were writing to “request assistance in restoring public confidence in our nation’s justice system and its investigators, specifically the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

“The unbalanced, uncertain, and seemingly unlimited focus of the special counsel’s investigation has led many of our constituents to see a dual standard of justice that benefits only the powerful and politically well-connected,” the letter said. “For this reason, we call on you to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a plethora of matters connected to the 2016 election and its aftermath, including actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

Will this new information from Nunes describing hundreds of requests for unmasking names without proper justification cause former White House officials to be prosecuted?

Credit: The Hill | CNBC

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