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Barr Names Prosecutor to Investigate Unmasking
Trump says revealing Flynn’s identity to Obama officials was attempt to undermine him
By:Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2020:
Attorney General William Barr has tapped a federal prosecutor to examine Obama administration officials’ use of the practice known as “unmasking” around the time of the 2016 presidential election, which President Trump has portrayed as an effort to undermine him.
U.S. Attorney John Bash of the Western District of Texas will oversee the review, which comes in conjunction with another probe Mr. Barr requested into the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
The review is “looking at incidents specifically before and after the election,” Ms. Kupec said. The months leading up to the election are of particular interest, a person familiar with the matter said.
“We know that unmasking inherently isn’t wrong, but certainly the frequency, the motivation and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic,” Ms. Kupec said in an interview late Wednesday with Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
Unmasking is a common practice in which authorities request and receive the names of U.S. citizens mentioned in classified intelligence reports, often intercepted communications of foreign officials. The authorities must have the requisite security clearance to view the names.
Mr. Trump and his supporters say Obama administration officials abused that power to unfairly target the president and his associates, a charge Democrats deny.