WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fox News host Sean Hannity has laid down a challenge that he will sue the Obama administration if it turns out he was under NSA surveillance and his name was “unmasked” either within the administration or to members of the press.
“I am going to sanction the biggest lawsuit that I possibly can with the biggest attorneys in the country so we can do something to stop the shredding of the Constitution,” Hannity said in a radio broadcast on Aug. 4, noting that he has on “pretty good authority” that he was under Obama administration NSA electronic surveillance and that the Obama administration “unmasked” his name.
On March 20, Infowars.com published records obtained from Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse that individual records of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens were under National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance in the years 2004 through 2010, in a database that suggests both Donald J. Trump and Alex Jones were under illegal, unauthorized government monitoring during those years.
Fox News reported on June 23 that Judicial Watch was unable to obtain records on Trump’s 2016 campaign team “unmasking” because all relevant NSA records have been transferred to President Obama’s yet-unopened presidential library and will not be available to the public for five years.
Disclosure of the names of U.S. citizens identified through the course of NSA electronic surveillance of foreign operatives under FISA-court authorization is a federal crime, regardless whether the “unmasking” involves disclosure within the government or to outside sources, including the press.
On April 3, Fox News reported that Susan Rice, the former national security adviser under then-President Barack Obama, requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance.
“The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes,” Fox News noted.
“The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office,” Fox News stressed.
On Aug. 2, Washington Free Beacon reported that former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power is believed to have made “hundreds” of unmasking requests to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his transition team.
Rep. Devin Nunes, Rep.-Calif., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, in a letter dated July 27, addressed to Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence, noted that since the 2016 election, there have been “numerous leaks alleging inappropriate or unlawful activity” by individuals associated with President Trump.
Nunes also commented the House Intelligence Committee also understands “that Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports,” commenting that Obama-era officials “may have used this information for improper purposes, including the possibility of leaking.”
Last Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Department of Justice was opening an investigation, pursuing criminal charges against people who leaked classified information, presumably including Obama-era officials who may have “unmasked” Trump campaign and transition team members from NSA electronic surveillance records.
Last Thursday, a controversy developed over the disclosure of an unclassified letter Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H. R. McMaster, sent to Susan Rice’s home, giving her unfettered and continuing access to classified information and waiving her “need-to-know” requirement she viewed or received since leaving the Obama White House, despite concerns over Rice’s involvement in the Obama administration’s developing “unmasking” scandal.