Scandals are still being revealed from former President Barack Obama’s time in the White House.
While Obama has been at the center of many misconducts, members of his administration have been found guilty of unethical behavior as well.
Now, a former Obama aide is the subject of an investigation into a major unmasking scheme—one that betrayed the American citizens involved in the worst way.
Former Obama White House Security Advisor Ben Rhodes is emerging as a person of interest in the House Intelligence Committee’s unmasking investigation.
Unmasking refers to the practice of having the identity of an American caught up in surveillance of a foreign target revealed. Their names are hidden — or masked — because U.S. intelligence agencies are prohibited from spying on Americans.
An intelligence consumer, however, can request that an American’s name be unmasked, or revealed, through a formal process. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recently said in a letter to Director for National Intelligence Dan Coats that Obama aides made “hundreds” of requests in their final year in office.
In a letter obtained by Circa, the House Intelligence Committee is attempting to discover just how many American citizens Ben Rhodes requested to have unmasked during his time in the Obama administration.
While unmasking is not inherently illegal in and of itself, there were substantial leaks to the press as a result of the unmaskings—putting American lives in jeopardy.
Nunes has been conducting an investigation to see whether Americans — including Trump campaign associates — were improperly unmasked before and after the election.
Nunes said in the letter to Coats that the committee has “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.”
U.S. officials told Circa on condition of anonymity that the intelligence reports included some intercepts of Americans talking to foreigners and many more involving foreign leaders talking about the future president, his campaign associates, or his transition team.
They noted that most of the intercepts had little to do with the Russian election interference scandal, and some appeared to have nothing to do with national security.
An intelligence source, with direct knowledge of the type of requests made by the Obama aides, told Circa:
It’s like hell and high water to fill out and gain approval for these types of unmaskings. It’s something analysts take seriously and could entail filling out 80 pages of paperwork to prove there is a need to unmask. If top officials were unmasking without oversight it’s something everyone should be concerned about and it puts our intelligence community in a very bad place.
The former President allowed misconduct to occur in every sector of the government, due to his lack of regulation as President.
But misconduct of this scale could have lasting effects that jeopardize the safety of American citizens.
Ben Rhodes was just one of many who manipulated their power in the government to benefit themselves. In this case, Rhodes is being accused of unmasking several individuals for political purposes, but potentially leaked information about Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election could prove incredibly damaging to those involved as well.
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