Barack Obama’s National Security Agency conducted illegal searches of hundreds of users’ Internet data after the former president relaxed the rules on government snooping.
The Obama administration also upped the number of Americans it had unmasked in intelligence reports, Circa reported, renewing concerns among civil liberty groups that Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights were routinely violated.
Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that it also raises questions about the motivations that Obama aides like Susan Rice had when they requested the names of Americans whose identities were obscured in surveillance reports.
If Rice and others did it for political purposes, to hurt Donald Trump for instance, that would be an ‘amazing abuse of power,’ he told Fox & Friends.
The new allegations against the former president and his administration stem from a once top secret information in a Wednesday report.
One out of every 20 searches of Internet data the NSA performed in its database after 2011 violated the safeguard the administration was supposed to be adhering to, Circa says.
The administration admitted to the violations during a secret court hearing in October, just before Donald Trump was elected, but those documents were sealed until last month.
According to Cirica, the proceedings revealed concerns that the administration had been honest about its practices and had a ‘very serious Fourth Amendment issue’ on its hands.
Rice, a former national security advisor to Obama, has claimed that she did not unmask Trump associates for sport, and had followed the letter of the law with her unmasking requests. The ex-official has said she only asked the information when she needed it to understand the intelligence she had been presented.
Former CIA director James Clapper offered similar testimony before a Senate panel in early May.