A new document revealing those in the Obama administration who requested unmaskings of Michael Flynn was released yesterday and it’s provided ample new context to the scandal. While the media are working overdrive to spin the news and claim it was routine, there’s been no viable explanation offered as to why political actors were targeting their political opponents just weeks before they were to leave office anyway. That’s especially relevant when you consider that information was used by Barack Obama to then push for a resurrection of the Flynn case, first deemed non-viable.
One of the names on the list is Samantha Power. You may recall her from earlier discussions of unmasking, as she was said to have made over 200 requests, far more than any other person in U.S. history. What those requests were or why she made them have largely been a mystery, as she’s claimed ignorance to this point.
In fact, her original claim that was made under oath was that she has “no recollection” of making any unmasking requests related to Michael Flynn.
Samantha Power lied pic.twitter.com/z5fcpCaVfE
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 13, 2020
The reality? She requested he be unmasked seven times in a short period of time. The idea that she can’t remember that or doesn’t know why she did it is laughable and doesn’t begin to pass muster. That goes for all the other Obama officials involved as well, none of whom have offered explanations for why they were desperately trying to go after Flynn at this time.
I’ve seen some conservatives (those who like to always give the benefit of the doubt) suggest that these requests could have been made in her name without her knowledge. That’s extremely unlikely, as I find it very suspect that random people could just make requests under someone else’s name.
As to whether any information was ever disseminated, that’s not the deciding factor in whether this was improper or not. In the case of Joe Biden, he made a request, which shows that he lied about his knowledge of the Flynn situation. The same is true of Powers, who made multiple requests while saying under oath she didn’t. The lies and cover-up are as big of a scandal here as the unmaskings themselves.
That does not mean that the unmaskings themselves weren’t bad though. These are political appointees on the way out of office making highly unusual requests against the incoming NSA, and that information just happened to leak to the press in illegal fashion. Let’s also note that many of these requests came before the Flynn call with the Russian ambassador. That means they were targeting him prior to even their eventually settled pretense, which also turned out to be couched in corruption.
Hopefully, Barr and Durham aren’t afraid to pursue these leads. If Trump officials can be nailed for process crimes, so can Obama officials. To let these people skate would send an awful message.