US Attorney for West Texas John Bash has been asked by AG Bill Bar to review the Obama administration's 'unmasking' practices from before and after the 2016 presidential election, according Fox News, citing the DOJ.
Republican lawmakers have demanded more information about the extent of the practice after a previously clandestine list of Obama-era officials who sought to reveal what turned out to be the identity of Michael Flynn in intelligence reports was released on Wednesday. -Fox News
Bash, a former clerk to late US Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia who has served as Special Assistant to President Trump, is the husband of Zina Bash - who clerked for Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito (and hilariously triggered the left by flashing the 'ok' symbol during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings - which the progressives were tricked by 4chan into believing was a white power hand gesture).
Meanwhile, DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Fox News' "Hannity" on Wednesday that US Attorney John Durham is also looking into the "unmasking," but that Bash has been assigned to dig deeper.
"Unmasking inherently isn't wrong, 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," said Kupec.
Unmasking is a tool frequently used during the course of intelligence work and occurs after U.S. citizens' conversations are incidentally picked up in conversations with foreign officials who are being monitored by the intelligence community. The U.S. citizens' identities are supposed to be protected if their participation is incidental and no wrongdoing is suspected. However, officials can determine the U.S. citizens' names through a process that is supposed to safeguard their rights. In the typical process, when officials are requesting the unmasking of an American, they do not necessarily know the identity of the person in advance.
Republicans became highly suspicious of the number of unmasking requests made by the Obama administration concerning Flynn, and have questioned whether other Trump associates were singled out. -Fox News
In short, Bash - a trusted operator within the Trump administration - will dig even deeper into the Obama administration's use of unmasking against its political opponents.