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What the Heck is Unmasking Anyway?

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What the heck is unmasking anyway?

Our government spies on foreigners all the time but not its own citizens –theoretically. So while eavesdropping on a Russian ambassador is ok, it’s not ok to spy on the guy at the other end of the call, if he’s an American citizen. So, in order to protect that guy, his information is “masked.” (Bokbluster was on this in 2017)

As it happens, the guy on the other end of Russian Ambassador Kislyak’s call was Trump’s incoming Trump National Security advisor Michael Flynn. And it turns out, dozens of members of the Obama administration, including Joe Biden, unmasked him.

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The Trump/Russian conspiracy theory is dragging. For one thing, no real evidence is being presented. And for another Trump bombed Syria, the ally of his alleged co-conspirator Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, there is evidence Team Obama spied on Team Trump. Bloomberg‘s Eli Lake and others broke the story last week. Obama national security adviser Susan Rice purused raw intelligence data on Russians’ conversations with Trump associates. Spying on foreigners is legal but spying on Americans isn’t. When American citizens get caught up in foreign surveillance their names are supposed to be masked in the intelligence report.

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But Susan Rice had American names unmasked. Adam Housley at Fox News reported that she then circulated raw reports with the unmasked names.

The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.

Somewhere along the line somebody leaked Michael Flynn’s name and he was forced to resign as Trump’s national security adviser. Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal suggests that FBI Director Comey has a conflict of interest in all this. And that it’s even possible “his staff was among the leakers.”

Andrew McCarthy wrote a column in National Review titled Susan Rice’s Unmasking: a Watergate style scandal.