[CNN] GOP senators reveal Obama officials who sought to ‘unmask’ names

[CNN] GOP senators reveal Obama officials who sought to ‘unmask’ names

Senate Republicans released a list of Obama administration officials who sought to “unmask” names of Americans in intelligence reports in the weeks before President Donald Trump took office, the latest salvo to discredit the FBI’s Russia investigation and accuse the previous administration of wrongdoing over the prosecution of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley released a document that was declassified last week by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, which names Obama administration officials who “may have received” Flynn’s identity in National Security Agency intelligence reports after requests to unmask Americans.
On their own, the documents do not prove any wrongdoing. The unmasking requests are a routine part of intelligence work, and there’s no evidence that the requests were made for political purposes. The National Security Agency said in its declassified memo disclosing the names that all of the officials had the authority to view the reports and the NSA’s standard procedures were followed.
In the NSA foreign intelligence reports, the names of Americans are redacted, or “masked.” Certain authorized US officials have the authority to request the names of those individuals if they have a justifiable reason. As a result, when the officials made the unmasking requests declassified on Wednesday, they wouldn’t have known whether Flynn was the individual whose identity was redacted.
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