FOX NEWS FIRST: Obama official potentially unmasked in controversy, Maria devastates Puerto Rico

TOP OF THE MORNING … It's Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Welcome to Fox News First, your home for all the news you need to start the day ... If you are a subscriber to Top Headlines, you can continue to get your early morning news fix and much more right here … In the meantime, please spread the word: Tell your friends they can subscribe to Fox News First by clicking here at FoxNews.com/first.

Here's your Fox News First 5 - the first five things you need to know today:

  • Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President Obama, made hundreds of "unmasking" requests in the final months of the administration right before Trump's inauguration, sources tell Fox News.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White House to provide a variety of Trump documents related to Mueller's Russian collusion probe.
  • Hurricane Maria has left much of Puerto Rico without power and facing devastation that could plunge the U.S. territory into a deeper financial crisis.
  • Amazon is reviewing its website after it suggested bomb-making materials to customers after they made purchases.
  • Hackers invaded Equifax's computer system and potentially accessed the personal data of millions of Americans earlier than initially disclosed, according to a note sent to customers this week.

Let's dig into these stories ... 

THE LEAD STORY: Former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power made "unmasking" requests at a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump's inauguration, sources tell Fox News ... "Unmasking “refers to the formal request to identify Americans in an intelligence document. Two sources told Fox News that Power's unmasking requests exceeded 260 last year.

  • Why does this matter? - This report comes before Power's expected testimony before the House Intelligence Committee next month. She is one of several Obama administration officials facing congressional scrutiny for seeking the identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports. Interest in Power's role in alleged unmasking is high. In a July 27 letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said the committee had learned "that one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration." The "official" is widely reported to be Power. Did Obama know about the "unmasking" requests?

MUELLER ZEROES IN ON TRUMP-RUSSIA DOCUMENTS: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White House to provide a wide variety of documents as part of his investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 presidential election. These documents cover actions Trump has taken as president ...  Mueller wants documents on Trump’s firing of former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former FBI director James Comey, a source said. He also wants records related to Trump's Oval Office meeting with Russian officials and Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney.

MARIA'S MESS: More than 1 million residents in Puerto Rico are without power and facing floodwaters and months, perhaps years, of recovery following Hurricane Maria's devastation ...  Maria weakened to a Category 2 storm Wednesday evening, but has regained strength today. Many feared extended power outages on the island would further sink businesses that were already struggling amid a recession that has lasted more than a decade. "This is going to be a disaster," Jean Robert Auguste, who owns two French restaurants and sought shelter at a San Juan hotel, told the Associated Press. "We haven't made any money this month." Click here to track Hurricane Maria's path.

AMAZON'S BIG OOPS: Amazon said it is "reviewing" its website algorithm after the site reportedly suggested bomb-making materials to customers ... The e-commerce company made the statement after Channel 4 News in Britain reported that items such as steel ball bearings and remote detonators were found in the "Frequently bought together" and “Customers who bought this also bought” categories after customers purchased seemingly innocent products like cooking ingredients. 

EQUIFAX NEWS GETS EVEN WORSE: Hackers roamed undetected in Equifax's computer network for more than four months before its security team uncovered the massive data breach, the security firm FireEye Inc. told some customers in a confidential note this week ...  Equifax previously disclosed that data belonging to approximately 143 million Americans was potentially accessed in May. FireEye's Mandiant group, which Equifax hired to investigate the breach, said the first evidence of hackers' "interaction" with the company occurred March 10.

There's so much more you should know as you start your day ... so, let's do this.

 

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Heard on Fox: " The leftists never talk about the repression of socialism. They want Hillary Clinton, Miss Pay-For-Play-Foreign-Policy... Miss Crony Socialism herself." – author and commentator Michelle Malkin, who had choice words for critics of  President Trump's speech before the U.N. General Assembly, on "Hannity." Click here to watch


ICYMI (And you didn't set your DVR) ...

Special Report: "All-Star Panel" has a debate on whether Republicans finally repeal ObamaCare with their latest bill

The Story with Martha MacCallum: Ben Shapiro: Rep. Keith Ellison is "the last person who should be making Holocaust references"

Tucker Carlson Tonight: Curt Schilling pitching in to help Puerto Rico

 

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS

Google to acquire HTC's Pixel smartphone division in $1.1 billion deal

SEC says hackers may have traded using stolen insider information

Toys R Us bankruptcy: How $5B debt caught up to toy retailer

Dr. Pepper Snapple cuts 2017 profit forecast on resin write-off

 

FOX TROT ACROSS THE NATION

Lincoln Memorial vandalized by student from Kyrgyz Republic, police say

Winner of $338M Powerball jackpot charged in child sex abuse case

Sheriff Clarke curses out reporter who questioned his need for a security detail

Has asset forfeiture gone too far? Truck seizure case sparks outrage, a call for change

 

NEW IN FOX NEWS OPINION

What the media would be saying: "Trump book tour undermines President Clinton's victory”
A Rosh Hashanah message of unity ... from the King of Bahrain

Newt Gingrich: President Trump's U.N. address reasserts patriotism and sovereignty

Todd Starnes: Teacher: "Make America Great Again" is example of white supremacy

 

HOLLYWOOD SQUARED

MSNBC star Lawrence O'Donnell has epic meltdown at staff in leaked video

Robert DeNiro pays tribute to Raging Bull inspiration Jake LaMotta

OBJECTified preview: Hulk Hogan talks divorce, low point 
Breakfast Club Actor Anthony Michael Hall sentenced to probation for assault

 

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Archaeologists in Norway may have unearthed a Viking boat grave

82-year-old sues Red Lobster over getting drunk and breaking hip

Will acupuncture increase chances of getting pregnant?

Just for you: Best transitional jackets for fall

 

DON'T MISS THIS TODAY

On Fox News:

Fox & Friends, 8 a.m. ET: Guests include: Vice President Mike Pence, who will discuss the latest in the quest for healthcare and tax reform efforts and react to President Trump's speech before the U.N. General Assembly 

The Story with Martha MacCallum, 7 p.m. ET: Guests include former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who will address the criticism surrounding his appearance at the Emmys

Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8 p.m. ET: Tucker will debate director Rob Reiner over Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential  election and "war" with the U.S. Click here for a sneak peek!

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Guests include Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohamed El-Erian Fed Chair Janet Yellen's decision to start reducing $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October and the factors behind the U.S. economy's strength under Trump

Varney & Company, 9 a.m. ET: Guests include FEMA Administrator Brock Long on hurricane season and efforts to help Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida

Cavuto: Coast to Coast, 12 noon ET: Guests include Capt. Eric King, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Commander, who will discuss the devastation of Hurricane Maria and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico

Countdown to the Closing Bell, 3 p.m. ET: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will give the inside story on his meeting with President Trump

 

#OnThisDay

1970: NFL Monday Night Football premieres on ABC as the Cleveland Browns defeat the visiting New York Jets, 31-21

1948: Milton Berle debuts as permanent host of The Texaco Star Theater on NBC.

1937: "The Hobbit," by J.R.R. Tolkien, is first published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. of London.

1897: Responding to a letter from 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon, the New York Sun runs its famous editorial by Francis P. Church that declared, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

 

Thank you for joining us on Fox News First! Enjoy your Thursday and see you in your inbox first thing tomorrow morning!