Archive for the ‘Samantha Power’ category

Samantha Power Blames Mysterious Masked Man for Unmasking Requests

October 19, 2017

Samantha Power Blames Mysterious Masked Man for Unmasking Requests, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, October 18, 2017

Plus 10 points for creativity. Minus 1,000 points for a stupid lie with inevitable consequences.

While the media rushes frantically from one manufactured Trump scandal to another, the examination of the deeply troubling lenghts to which Obama Inc. went to sabotage his political opponent and successor using eavesdropping continues. One of the most striking revelations has been the number of ‘unmasking’ requests filed by Samantha Power. 

Not only did Power file a whole lot of them, 260 requests to unmask the identities of Americans being spied on is a whole lot, but why would an ambassador to the UN even need such classified info?

And to that, Samantha Power had a simple and incoherent response. “It wasn’t me.”

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy revealed in an interview on Fox News on Tuesday that Power was “emphatic” on the point that someone else in the Obama administration made the unmasking requests that have been attributed to her.

Fox News recently reported that Power made approximately 260 unmasking requests — a rate of one per business day — in her final year in office, including up through the end of Obama’s term.

Unmasking has become an issue because someone inside the Obama administration unmasked the identities of Trump associates identified in classified intelligence reports collected by the intelligence community during surveillance of foreign targets. Some of those details were illegally leaked to the media.

Gowdy, a member of the Intelligence committee, said that Power “was pretty emphatic” last week in disputing that she made 260 unmasking requests.

“She would say those requests to unmask may have been attributed to her, but they greatly exceed by an exponential factor the requests she actually made,” Gowdy told Fox’s Bret Baier.

“Her perspective, her testimony is, ‘they may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.’”

It’s a really bizarre defense that relies on either challenging the relevant paperwork or suggesting that someone else using her name made those requests. The latter defense is rather crazy. If true, it would constitute a major crime. If untrue, then Power has hung herself. Susan Rice repeatedly lied about her unmasking requests, but what Power is doing here is Hillaryesque. And we know how that worked out for her.

Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation

July 19, 2017

Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation, Washington Free Beacon, July 19, 2017

Samantha Power / Getty Images

Former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s involvement in the unmasking by former Obama administration officials of sensitive national security information is raising red flags over what insiders view was an attempt by the former administration to undermine President Donald Trump and key figures on his team, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the situation.

Power appears to be central to efforts by top Obama administration officials to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his presidential transition team, according to multiple sources.

The names of Trump allies in the raw intelligence reports were leaked to the press in what many in Congress and the current administration claim is an attempt by Obama allies and former officials to damage the White House.

The House Intelligence Committee, which is spearheading the investigation into these efforts, has issued subpoenas for Power and other top Obama administration figures, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, as part of congressional efforts to determine the source of these leaks.

Power’s role in this unmasking effort is believed to be particularly questionable given her position as a the U.N. ambassador, a post that does not typically require such sensitive unmasking activities, according to former U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

“Unmasking is not a regular occurrence—absolutely not a weekly habit. It is rare, even at the National Security Council, and ought to be rarer still for a U.N. ambassador,” according to one former senior U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

“It might be defended when the communication in question relates directly to U.N. business, for example an important Security Council vote,” explained the former official, who would only discuss the matter on background. “Sometimes it might be done out of other motives than national security, such as sheer curiosity or to defend a bureaucratic position. Or just plain politics.”

The Intelligence Committee’s focus of Power and other key Obama officials is a prime example of the Obama administration’s efforts to spy on those close to Trump, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

“The subpoena for Power suggests just how pervasive the Obama administration’s spying on Americans actually was,” said one veteran GOP political operative who has been briefed on the matter by senior Congressional intelligence officials. “The U.N. ambassador has absolutely no business calling for the quantity and quality of the intelligence that Power seems to have been asking for.”

The source questioned why Power would need to uncover such classified intelligence information in her role at the U.N.

“That’s just not the sort of thing that she should have been concerned about, unless she was playing the role of political operative with the help of the intelligence community,” the source said. “It gives away what was actually going on: the Obama administration was operating in a pervasive culture of impunity and using the intelligence community against their political opponents.”

Rice was scheduled to speak to House Intelligence Committee this week, but the meeting was reportedly postponed. Some sources speculated this could be a delaying tactic by Rice aimed at pushing the testimony back until after Congress’s summer recess.

Leading members of Congress have begun pushing for the Intelligence Committee and other oversight bodies to investigate former Obama administration officials who they believe are responsible for the leaks.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon last week that these leaks appear to have come from former senior officials, potentially including Ben Rhodes, the Obama national security adviser responsible for creating what he described as an in-house “echo chamber” meant to mislead the public and Congress about the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

“I think Congress and some members on the Intelligence Committee can call Ben Rhodes to testify,” DeSantis said. “He may be able to invoke executive privilege from when Obama was president, but he definitely can’t do that in any interactions he’s had since then.”

DeSantis identified Rhodes and other senior Obama administration officials as being “involved with feeding journalists some of these [leaks]. I believe he’s in touch with people on the National Security Council. It would be absolutely legitimate as part of leak investigation to bring him in and put him under oath, and I would absolutely support doing that.”

Senior Trump administration officials also have decried the leaks, which have expanded to operational information and are now impeding U.S. national security operations.

The anonymous sources for these articles “are obviously the same Obama holdovers who constantly leak classified information” to various newspapers, one senior administration official told the Free Beacon earlier this month.

House Intelligence Committee sends subpoenas to intel agencies

May 31, 2017

House Intelligence Committee sends subpoenas to intel agencies, Fox NewsJames Rosen, May 31, 2017

Where NSA had previously complied with the House panel’s investigators, sources said that cooperation had ground to a complete halt, and that the other agencies – FBI and CIA – had never substantively cooperated with document requests at all. The investigators believe that even rudimentary document production as a result of the subpoenas will enable them to piece together a timeline linking the unmasking activity to news media reports, based on leaks, that conveyed the same information provided to the officials requesting unmasking.

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Three of the nation’s intelligence agencies received subpoenas Wednesday afternoon issued by the House Intelligence Committee, Fox News has confirmed, with each of the three demands for documents explicitly naming three top officials of the Obama administration: Susan Rice, who served as President Obama’s White House national security adviser; former CIA Director John Brennan; and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power.

The three subpoenas, among a total of seven signed by panel chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), were served on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, and all three explicitly referenced “unmasking” – a signal that the House panel is intensifying its investigation into allegations that Obama-era aides improperly demanded the “unmasking” of names of associates of President Trump that had appeared, in coded form, in classified intelligence reports, then leaked the data to news media organizations.

The other four subpoenas were issued at the behest of the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and were said to be duplicative of subpoenas already issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting a parallel probe. These four are focused, sources said, on persistent – but as yet unsubstantiated – allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, as well as the case of Michael Flynn. The former White House national security adviser was dismissed after three weeks on the job because the White House concluded he had misled Vice President Pence about private conversations Flynn had had with the Russian ambassador late last year.

The other target of these four subpoenas is said to be Michael Cohen, a longtime Trump attorney. Cohen has denied participating in any effort at collusion with the Kremlin. Flynn, through attorneys, has unsuccessfully sought immunity from prosecution in exchange for congressional testimony.

The issuance of the seven subpoenas was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The inclusion of Power’s name on the subpoenas marks the first appearance of the former U.N. ambassador in the controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s use of unmasking. Capitol Hill sources told Fox News they are devoting increasing scrutiny to Power – a former historian and winner of the Pulitzer Prize who worked as a foreign policy adviser in the Senate office of Barack Obama before joining his administration – because they have come to see her role in the unmasking as larger than previously known, and eclipsing those of the other former officials named.

Rice has previously denied any improper activity in her use of unmasking. “The allegation is somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes, that’s absolutely false,” Rice told MSNBC on April 4. President Trump said at that time that he personally believed Rice had committed a crime. None of those named on the subpoenas has been formally accused of wrongdoing.

Inquiries placed with representatives of Power and Brennan were not immediately returned.

That Nunes signed the seven subpoenas, as is standard practice, underscored the chairman’s continuing influence over key aspects of over his committee’s probe, despite the fact that Nunes in early April “stepped aside” from his panel’s Russia probe. He insists his decision was not a formal recusal, and he is still awaiting a hearing by the House Ethics Committee, which agreed at the time to investigate whether Nunes had improperly shared classified data with the White House before presenting it to Schiff and the rest of the intelligence committee.

Nunes told Fox News in an exclusive interview on May 19 that he is an active chairman, including continuing to preside over the unmasking angle of the investigation

Investigative sources on the committee’s Republican majority staff told Fox News that the unmasking subpoenas do not reflect a “fishing expedition,” but were issued because documentary evidence already in hand warranted demands for additional documents relating to Rice, Brennan and Power.

Where NSA had previously complied with the House panel’s investigators, sources said that cooperation had ground to a complete halt, and that the other agencies – FBI and CIA – had never substantively cooperated with document requests at all. The investigators believe that even rudimentary document production as a result of the subpoenas will enable them to piece together a timeline linking the unmasking activity to news media reports, based on leaks, that conveyed the same information provided to the officials requesting unmasking.

President Trump and the White House have dismissed the long-running allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and possibly the transition team, as “fake news,” a scandal ginned up by supporters of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to explain the Democratic nominee’s stunning loss to Mr. Trump last November.

However, the Trump administration belatedly acquiesced in the appointment of former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to investigate the allegations “and related matters.” Critics of the administration have also pointed to sustained reporting alleging undisclosed contacts between key Trump aides and various Russians – Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe at an early stage because of such contacts – and to a memorandum prepared in February by former FBI director James Comey, leaked a few days after his termination by President Trump, in which Comey alleged that the president had personally importuned him to abandon the FBI’s probe of Flynn.

Samantha Power Reinvents Obama’s Record on Russia

January 25, 2017

Samantha Power Reinvents Obama’s Record on Russia, PJ MediaClaudia Rosett, January 24, 2017

samantharussiaUnited States U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power speaks during her final press conference, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

By all means, let’s have a debate about the dangers of American presidents and their administrations purveying “alternative facts.” But could the members of the media most ostentatiously seething over President Trump — and now busy presenting their own alternative facts — please spare us the pretense that the White House is suddenly in danger of losing its credibility. What’s left to lose? We’ve just had eight years of the Obama administration beaming out  alternative facts “narratives” to the mascot-media echo chamber, on the theory that saying something makes it so (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”; Iran’s “exclusively peaceful” nuclear program; the Benghazi “video”; etc.).

It is Trump’s job to reverse this rot, not to adapt Obama’s fiction techniques to suit himself. But if anyone’s curious about the kind of fakery that Trump and his team should strive to avoid — in the interest of integrity and good policy — Obama’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, has just given us a showcase example. In her farewell speech as UN ambassador, delivered Jan. 17 to the Atlantic Council, Power conjured an entire alternate universe, less by way of presenting alternative facts than by omitting a number of vital facts altogether. The result was to erase from the picture some of the most disastrous failures of the Obama administration, while insinuating that Trump is already complicit in the resulting mess.

Let me stipulate that Power did issue a warning that is valid, important, and urgent. Her topic, as she explained at the start of her speech, was “a major threat facing our great nation: Russia.”

Yep, no question about that. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a growing threat, as some of us have been arguing for more than a decade.

But it was on Obama’s watch that Russia became a mushrooming threat to a degree that even Obama and his team could not in the end ignore — welcoming Edward Snowden, snatching Crimea from Ukraine, moving back into the Middle East, backing the Assad regime and bombing in Syria, hacking hither and yon, and frustrating Power at the UN with its veto on the Security Council.

It was Obama himself, with his policy of “engagement,” who helped lay the groundwork for this rising threat — deferring to dictators, betraying allies, downsizing the U.S. military, and sneering at those who warned there would be hell to pay. Putin drew the logical conclusions, read this U.S. retreat as an invitation, and made his moves. One might have supposed that after years of Obama apologizing for America, Samantha Power in her swan-song lecture could have summoned the strength of character to apologize for Obama, and for her own role, as one of his top envoys. (Don’t hold your breath).

For Putin, Obama offered the opportunity of a lifetime — to roll right over that old “rules-based order,” which always depended on American leadership, and which Power now warns us is threatened by Russia.  Obama began with the 2009 “reset,” including the gift to Putin of yanking missile defense plans for Eastern Europe. Obama went on to promise Putin “more flexibility” after his 2012 reelection. In the 2012 presidential campaign debates, Obama mocked Mitt Romney’s warnings about Russia, scoffing that “the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

When Putin gave asylum in 2013 to American-security cyber-vandal Edward Snowden, mocking Obama as he did so, Obama’s mini-mouse response was to attend a G-20 summit in Russia regardless, but punish Putin by refraining from any bilateral meetings. About that same time, Obama erased his own “red line” on chemical weapons in Syria by way of turning over the problem to Russia. When Russia in 2014 snatched Crimea from Ukraine, Obama answered with sanctions that have done nothing to reverse Russia’s grab. Meantime, Obama’s administration celebrated Russia’s presence as one of the main parties to an Iran nuclear deal that Israel, and many American lawmakers, protested as a grave threat. When Putin sent Russian warships into the Mediterranean and Russian bombers into Syria, Obama responded by hosting international talking shops, while Power gave impotent lectures at the UN.

None of this wilting U.S. policy figured in Power’s speech as part of the problem. She justified the “reset” on grounds that “2017 is not 2009.” (Right, and 2009 was not 1991, when post-Soviet Russia looked like a friend on the ropes. By 2009, Russia had already engaged in such feats as poisoning dissident spy Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, meddling in Ukraine’s elections, murdering a series of journalists, and transgressing into Georgia.) Power suggested that in 2009, when Putin’s sidekick, Dmitry Medvedev, was president of Russia, there was more common ground with the U.S. (surely she is aware, as was her flexible boss, that even during that interval, Putin, not Medvedev, was the real power in the Kremlin).

Power in her speech claimed that “anyone who has seen my debates in the UN Security Council with Russia knows that I and my government have long had serious concerns about its government’s aggressive and destabilizing actions.” But in her recitation of specifics, that “long” concern seemed to extend back only to about 2014, as if the previous five years of Obama’s engagement, reset, retreat, flexibility, disappearing red line, ineffectual sanctions and feckless dialogue were irrelevant.

For good measure, Power threw in a classic Obama apology for America (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, recipient of the 2009 “reset” button, must love this routine):

Now, I acknowledge there are times when actions the United States takes in the interest of defending our security and that of our allies can be seen by other nations as offensive moves that threaten their security, and we need to be alert to this, which is why dialogue is so important.

Power then deplored Russia’s policies in which “lying is a strategic asset,” and its goal of “creating a world where all truth is relative, and where trust in the integrity of our democratic system is lost.” Correct on all counts, and an important warning. Yet somehow disingenuous coming from a senior member of the administration that unapologetically turned the National Security Council into a Ben Rhodes narrative workshop, mind-melded with President Obama. She made no mention of that.

Amid all this, Power worked around to the punch line — “we must continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to determine the full extent of Russia’s interference in our recent elections… .” Here again, Russian hacking is without question a threat to be deterred, stopped, punished. But there’s that troubling administration timeline, in which Russian hacking merited merely a public warning before the 2016 presidential election. After the vote, and Trump’s victory, it suddenly emerged on the Obama administration’s twilight agenda as a threat of the first order.

Power made a number of recommendations, some worthy in their own right, but — coming from this particular speaker — staggering for the degree of hypocrisy involved. She said “we have to do a better job of informing our citizens about the seriousness of the threat the Russian government poses.” (Quite right, but where’s that apology owed to Mitt Romney?).

Most memorable was her urging that “we must reassure our allies that we have their backs, and ensure that Russia pays a price for breaking the rules.” Yes, absolutely. But that’s quite an utterance coming from Power, who just last month, as Obama’s willing envoy, betrayed one of America’s closest allies, Israel, at the UN Security Council. It was Power who raised her hand to abstain from the vote on Resolution 2334 — allowing the passage, absent a U.S. veto, of measures deeply damaging to the Jewish state, and extremely difficult for any U.S. administration to now reverse.

Having by turns revised, scrubbed, excused, fudged and recast the Obama record on Russia, Power wrapped up by quoting George Washington and prescribing — who could argue? — that we must be “clear-eyed about the threat Russia poses from the outside” and dedicated to “restoring citizens’ faith in our democracy on the inside.”

Hypocrisy, though unattractive, is not necessarily dangerous. But it becomes so when coupled with political power and employed to cover up important truths. Russia is indeed a serious and growing threat, on multiple fronts. But to confront this requires not a Potemkin facade erected to  deflect attention from years of terrible policy, but an accurate understanding of how we got here. Samantha Power and Barack Obama, with their exit warnings about Russia, owed us at least that much.

Which brings me back to alternative facts, and what we should require of Trump. He inherits a Russia that was in effect invited by the Obama administration to become the grave and growing threat we see today. Putin availed himself richly of that invitation. To remedy this will take American leadership, courage and candor. If anyone in the new Trump administration ends up giving at any stage a speech similar in its Orwellian manipulations to this farewell peroration by Samantha Power, Trump should fire that speaker forthwith. America deserves better.