Provided by USA Today: The investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election — and President Trump's counterattack against surveillance and leaking — has brought a new term into the American political lexicon. "Unmasking." Until now, the process for revealing information about U.S. citizens in intelligence reports was almost completely obscure outside of the intelligence community. But the issue has taken on new importance since House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes alleged that the Obama administration may have improperly identified Trump transition officials in classified reports he had access to — reports that later turned out to be provided to him by the Trump White House. Here's what we know about the hows and whys of unmasking:

[More] Unmasking Samantha Power

from The Gray Area:

About a month ago, The Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled, Unmasking Samantha Power. It is instructive to republish portions of that article again in light of the new allegations surrounding unmasking and related surveillance activities of the Obama Administration against members of the incoming Trump Administration.

Funny how this is a scandal no one seems interested in. With all the fuss around the Russia investigation, there is still only one clear felony we know about: the leaking of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name after someone had identified him from a classified intelligence report.

Why would Obama Administration officials need to know the identities of hundreds of Trump officials?

But protecting the privacy rights of American citizens as well as not revealing which foreigners U.S. intelligence is targeting is also crucial, which is why U.S. government officials are supposed to give good and specific reason for seeking the identity of a redacted American. Yet in all but one of the requests for names from top-level Obama officials, Mr. Nunes writes, the language was “boilerplate” ...

The House committee has not identified the Trump people who were unmasked. Nor has it identified the “one official” who made those hundreds of requests. But it’s pretty obvious this was Samantha Power, Barack Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations. Ms. Power's job had no clear intelligence-related function.

In Washington, this is one story most people want to dismiss.

When Mr. Nunes first raised the issue, he was accused of leaking classified information, and activist groups including MoveOn.org filed complaints with the House Ethics Committee. But rather than resolve what are plainly politically motivated complaints, it looks like Democrats on the committee are more interested in keeping a cloud hanging over Mr. Nunes as a way of keeping a cloud over the investigation.

... if high-level members of the Obama Administration were abusing intelligence to spy on Trump people during the campaign, the American people deserve answers on that.

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