Liberal media was aflutter on Wednesday after The Washington Post reported an investigation concluded that looked into the “unmasking” of various Trump associates who were named in intelligence reports.
As the Post reported, it does not appear as though any criminal charges will be brought against anyone who requested information about the identities of the Trump associates, nor will a report of the investigation be released. The Post cited “sources familiar with the matter.”
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reported that Attorney General William Barr ordered the investigation into the unmasking earlier this year, tapping outgoing U.S. attorney John Bash to lead the inquiry.
As The Daily Wire reported in May, the list of Obama administration officials who asked for intelligence reports related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the final days of the Obama era was released. Then-Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified the list. As The Daily Wire reported:
CBS News’ Catherine Herridge has now received the list of names who, according to Grenell’s declassification notification, “may have received Lt. Gen. Flynn’s identity in response to a request processed between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017 to unmask an identity that had been generically referred to in an NSA foreign intelligence report.”
“Each individual was an authorized recipient of the original report and the unmasking was approved through NSA’s standard process, which includes a review of the justification for the request,” Grenell continued. “Only certain personnel are authorized to submit unmasking requests into the NSA system. In this case, 16 authorized individuals requested unmaskings for [redacted] different NSA intelligence reports for select identified people.”
“While the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm they saw the unmasked information,” Grenell warned. “This response does not include any requests outside of the specified time-frame.”
The list included former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former Director for National Intelligence James Clapper, former Director of the CIA John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, and then-Vice President Joe Biden.
While many on the Left have jumped at this investigation’s closure as some kind of win for The Resistance, the issue, as Andrew McCarthy wrote in April 2017, was never about criminality and always about the abuse of power:
Was the questionable unmasking a single, isolated instance, or was it part of a pattern?
Did the communications in question have real foreign intelligence value, or were they just blather in which Americans participated or were mentioned — such that it might appear that unmasking the Americans was the objective of the collection effort, not something that was “incidental”?
Was there a series of unmaskings of a particular American or group of Americans? After all, it would not seem very “incidental” to collect and unmask the very same people again and again — that would look more like targeting.
Were standards applied consistently: Was the same unmasking protocol applied to all Americans with equal rigor, or does it appear that some Americans — like maybe . . . Americans connected to Trump — were given less protection than others?
The theory, as reported by Ross, was that Obama administration officials “may have leaked negative information about Flynn and other Trump associates to the media.”
The Bash investigation may not have found such evidence.
This investigation is separate from the one being conducted by U.S. attorney John Durham, who is looking into the origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign, which found no collusion between the campaign and Russia. That investigation is still ongoing.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.