Attorney General William Barr is launching a new investigation into the ‘unmasking’ scandal involving several prominent officials from the administration of Barack Obama.
Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec revealed that Barr has requested that U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash look into the matter.
“We know that unmasking inherently isn’t wrong,” she told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “But, certainly, the frequency, the motivation and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic.”
“And when you’re looking at unmasking as part of a broader investigation, like John Durham’s investigation, looking specifically at who was unmasking whom can add a lot to our understanding about motivation and big-picture events,” added Kupec.
Bash’s investigation will focus on the unmasking scandal, while Durham has been analyzing the origins of the Russia probe.
the frequency, and who was unmasking whom. “These circumstances…can shed light on and give us a better understanding of what happened with respect to President Trump, his campaign, then…what happened after he was elected as well.” @KerriKupecDOJ said. @ClareHymes22 @CBSNews
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 28, 2020
Earlier this month, the acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, declassified a list of Obama operatives who sought to unmask former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Those names involved in the requests included then-Vice President Joe Biden, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former CIA Director John Brennan.
It also included former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Obama, Samantha Power, who made the request seven times despite testifying that she could not recall doing so.
While unmasking isn’t inherently wrong as Kupec notes, leaking names caught up incidentally in phone call intercepts is a felony.
A 2017 report by Fox News states that FISA rules require “that if an American with Constitutional protections is collaterally caught in such surveillance,” as Flynn had been, “his or her identity must be protected.”
They add that disclosing that American’s identity is “a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.”
AG Barr has appointed US attorney for the Western district of Texas to assist Durham. He will specifically be looking into the ridiculous amount of unmaskings that that occurred before and after the 2016 election. Hannity discusses with AG Barr’s spokeswomen Kerri Kupec here pic.twitter.com/gpocX7zAgr
— Luke Goldberg (@LukeGoldberg4) May 28, 2020
Trump Family Unmasked?
Hannity questioned Kupec about the possibility of President Trump’s family members having also been caught up in the unmasking scandal and whether or not the DOJ would be looking into it.
“Well, that’s why the attorney general determined that it was appropriate to look at unmasking as a support to John Durham’s investigation, and looking specifically at episodes both before and after the election,” Kupec stated.
“And, like I said, the frequency, who was unmasking whom, these — all of these circumstances and events can shed light and give us a better understanding of what happened with respect to President Trump, his campaign, then, of course, what happened after he was elected as well.”
Hannity suggested last night that Obama admin officials may have unmasked members of the Trump family, per Devin Nunes. If true, wow.
— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) May 16, 2020
Last week, a pair of Senate committees requested declassification of additional documents pertaining to the unmasking of Americans surrounding the 2016 election.
It would seem this scandal is ready to get blown open, an ironic thing since Biden has insisted that he and Obama spent their eight years in the White House operating a scandal-free administration.