Before we get into the meat of this post, it’s important to refresh our memories on what the unmasking scandal is and why it’s important. In order to do that, let’s revisit excerpts from last month’s post, If What Susan Rice Did Wasn’t Illegal, It Should Be:
U.S. citizens who are caught up incidentally in foreign intelligence surveillance are typically subject to minimization rules to conceal their identities, though there are some exceptions.
Individuals can be exempt from the minimization rules if their identities are necessary to understand the value of the foreign intelligence.
Paul used Monday’s development to renew his push for reform of a controversial provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allows the U.S. intelligence community to target non-Americans outside the United States without a warrant. The provision, Section 702, is up for renewal later this year.
Paul’s emphasis on reforming the law is exactly where it ought to be. For example, Susan Rice herself explained during a recent MSNBC interview, how the unmasking process works. Basically, she sees an intelligence report containing surveilled conversations between a foreigner and an American, and if she decides she wants to unmask the American, she makes that request to the intelligence community, which then approves or denies the request. That’s all it takes. Think about how potentially abusive this is. What happened when you have a situation where the deep state and the President are adamantly united against a candidate, as they were against Trump? Naturally they’re going to approve the unmasking of a political enemy, and it appears that is precisely what happened.
The key thing to remember here is that the current “process” of unmasking an American is rife for abuse. All it takes is a political operative who wants the surveillance intelligence, in this case Susan Rice, to request it from the intelligence community. No normal judge is needed to issue a warrant in a transparent process as should be the case. This makes a political hit using classified intelligence extremely easy, particularly against a guy like Trump. Just submit the request to an intel community that already hates the guy, get the information you want, then make sure it gets leaked to the press. Whether you like Mike Flynn or not, this is what seems to have happened to him, and it’s shady as hell.
Given what we know happened to Flynn, the logical next question is who else did Susan Rice, or others in the Obama administration, “unmask” while they were in power? We don’t have answers to that yet, but Rand Paul has some concerning suspicions.
Here’s some of what he had to say on the subject, courtesy of a Fox News interview:
Earlier this week, Paul said reporters have told him they have evidence he was a target of Obama administration spying.
This is the first time that Paul mentioned another senator is also concerned about the Obama administration’s surveillance.
He said if this proves to be true, it’s a much bigger story than any allegations about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the presidential election.
“It’s about your own government spying on the opposition party,” Paul said. “That would be enormous if it’s true.”
Paul told Fox Business Network’s Charles Payne on Wednesday that he’s asked the White House and the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate.
He said if the intelligence community is indeed being used for politics, it’s a “very, very serious crime.”
I completely agree with his assessment. We really need to get to the bottom of this fast, and reform the entire amateurish “unmasking” process.
Here’s the full interview, I suggest you watch it. Starts off slowly, but really gets going toward the end.