“If you don’t think the unmasking has something to do with the weaponization of our Department of Justice and our intelligence services, think again,” said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), suggesting that the Obama administration had weaponized the executive branch in pursuit of partisan political purposes.
Gosar’s remarks came in a SiriusXM Breitbart News Tonight interview with Breitbart News’s Senior Editors-at-Large Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Drawing on a classified four-page memo composed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, for his claims, Gosar described abuse of executive power as a pattern across the Obama administration.
Gosar linked the following Obama-era operations and events as illustrative of a pattern of partisan weaponization of the executive branch: Fast and Furious; the handling of and response to the September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya; the IRS’s targeting of dissident charities and non-profits; and the surveillance of persons connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Partial transcript below:
MANSOUR: I want to pivot really quickly to this infamous #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag about the memo that the House Intelligence Committee Chairman wrote about, explaining what was going on with the FISA warrants that were issued by the Obama administration. Can you tell us – I know that you’ve read the memo, it hasn’t, obviously, been released to the public – what can you tell us about how this memo came about and what’s in it?
GOSAR: Well, this memo is a summary of emails and traffic that has been picked up by the intelligence and judiciary systems. Some of it is exactly what you may have seen that has been exposed to the sunlight already. Other things may not. But what it basically does is, that, if you don’t think that Fast and Furious, if you don’t think that Benghazi, for the lack of accountability, if you don’t think the IRS, and if you don’t think the unmasking has something to do with the weaponization of our Department of Justice and our intelligence services, think again.
MANSOUR: Wow. Okay. What is the likelihood that this memo with be released by Congressman Nunes?
GOSAR: In our conference, there is a heated debate about when, not if, and we want it out sooner than later. The American people need to see this. There are other things associated with it because this is just the tip of the iceberg. It names names, and those names, they should be owed their day in country, but if it is what’s presented, there are some heads that need to go to jail and not come out for quite some time.
Gosar reiterated his description of the aforementioned pattern of partisan political weaponization of the executive branch when asked about former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power’s requests for “unmasking” American citizens’ identities captured via FISA surveillance operations, among whom were “Trump associates.”
Partial transcript below:
POLLAK: Let me ask you this: there were some reports over the last year, and we actually were part of reporting this, that there were a number of individuals in the Obama administration who had requested the unmasking of the identities of Americans who were swept up in foreign wiretaps. And Samantha Power, the former ambassador to the United Nations, who doesn’t really have a national security function, had conducted a large number of these unmasking requests. Are we going to learn more about that? Are we going to see into the operation of the outgoing administration and why they did what they did?
GOSAR: Joel, I’m going to be very careful. I’m not an attorney, but if you don’t think that Fast and Furious, if you don’t think that Benghazi, for the lack of accountability, if you don’t think the IRS and the unmasking are tied together with the weaponization of our Department of Justice and political advocates, think again.
POLLAK: Wow. So this could relate back to those controversies, as well?
GOSAR: Here’s the thing. If you look at Fast and Furious, Joel, this was about one of the most precious and most instrumental aspects of individuals to hold a government accountable: having the Second Amendment. If you can take that, if you can lack the accountability that popped up with Benghazi, where you didn’t protect American citizens and those in harm’s way, if you can target your opposition with the IRS and then you can unmask them with anybody and then spread that information – not just unmask them, but spread that information to all other agencies and top brass – now, what you’ve got is the beginnings of a Banana Republic. That means that you have an autocratic demise to the democracy and to the republic and hold your political foes to their detriment.
Gosar voted against the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act (FARA) of 2017 last Thursday (which passed the House and Senate by broadly partisan votes of 256-164 and 65-34, respectively), breaking ranks with much of the GOP.
The FARA does not afford American citizens with Fourth Amendment protections against government search and seizure, suggested Gosar.
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.