The Obama administration made history during the 2016 election by releasing statistics for the first time showing how many times government officials sought to unmask the names of Americans captured in accidental National Security Agency intercepts. There was just one problem: the number of affected Americans was grossly underreported.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now under new management with President Donald Trump, confirms that the 654 unmaskings reported last year for fiscal 2015 was underreported by a factor of more than three times. The correct number was actually 2,232.
So how does an agency entrusted with producing some of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence and secrets get its math so mixed up? Apparently, it was a case of providing statistics from the wrong category.
Republicans lawmakers say they are angry, but not surprised by a new report which shows U.S. intelligence included unredacted names of U.S. citizens in thousands of intelligence documents last year.
National intelligence officials say the 654 figure reported last year actually represented the number of times a government official had a request approved to unmask an American name and not the total number of U.S. persons’ identities that actually were unredacted after the fact in intelligence reports, as had been represented in last year’s report.