Circa – John Solomon and Sara Carter, who REALLY is all over this topic:
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.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.“We noticed the mistake when compiling the 2016 statistics this spring and decided we should correct it,” a senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the change explained to Circa. “We wanted the numbers we were releasing to be consistent, apples to apples. The number that should have been reported was 2,232.”
So when such a whopper is made, how does the intelligence community fix the problem? In a double-asterisk footnote in its lengthy 2017 transparency report.
“For this statistic, last year’s Annual Statistical Transparency Report provided the number of approved requests(i.e.,654) for unmasking of U.S.person identities, rather than the number of U.S. person identities that were released,” the little-noticed footnote read.”A single request may contain multiple U.S.person identities. This year’s report provides the number of U.S. person identities referred to by name or title released in response to specific requests to unmask those identities. The number of U.S. person identities that NSA released during calendar year 2015 in response to specific requests to unmask and identity was 2,232, which was the number that should have been reported in last year’s report,” the footnote added.