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Sun May 17, 2020, 11:54 AM

The only culprit in the Flynn 'unmasking' scandal is the Trump administration

There was no wrongdoing on the part of Obama administration officials who, during the presidential transition in 2016 and 2017, “unmasked” the identity of Michael Flynn, who was set to become national security adviser. Indeed, the only wrongdoing is by the Trump administration, which, in releasing last week a list of officials who made the unmasking requests, has yet again politicized the intelligence community.

The Trump administration released the list to promote its claim that officials in the outgoing administration attempted to discredit Flynn and others associated with the incoming administration. But this claim makes absolutely no sense.

To understand why, we need some background on the unmasking procedure. In the course of doing its job to gather information critical to our national security, the intelligence community might discover that a foreign intelligence target has talked about or even to an American. The intelligence community is only interested in the foreign side of the information collected and, in reporting it, will only make reference to the American if it is important to understanding the intelligence. Even then, to protect the privacy of that American, they would refer to him or her simply as “a U.S. person.” This isn’t required by the Constitution, but it has been a long-established protection.

Most recipients of the reports don’t care about the identities of U.S. persons. There are, however, cases in which, to do his or her duty, the official receiving the report does need to know the identity. For example, if a report says that foreign intelligence officers were considering recruiting a U.S. person, it would be irresponsible for the FBI not to ask for the identity of that American, if only to warn them about the recruiting attempt.


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Reply The only culprit in the Flynn 'unmasking' scandal is the Trump administration (Original post)
Zorro May 2020 OP
safeinOhio May 2020 #1
2naSalit May 2020 #2

Response to Zorro (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:58 AM

1. Benedict Flynngate.

This is the DU member formerly known as safeinOhio.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #1)

Sun May 17, 2020, 12:06 PM

2. +1

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