No inappropriate activity was found in the ‘unmasking’ requests under Obama

A federal attorney’s review found no inappropriate activity by Obama administration officials who sought to identify Americans whose names appeared in classified intelligence reports during the 2001 presidential election, two officials familiar with the matter said.

Prosecutor John Bashe, a U.S. attorney for the West Texas district, left the Justice Department last week for a job in the private sector. At the direction of Attorney General William Barr, Mr. Bash reviewed Obama officials’ requests for “unmasking,” in which ordinary officials request and receive the names of U.S. citizens mentioned in intelligence reports, often including interrupted communications from foreign officials. Electronic surveillance.

President Trump and Republicans in Congress cited non-monthly requests as evidence of a conspiracy by senior Australian officials to spy on Mr Trump’s incoming administration. In particular, they drew attention to unofficial requests for talks, including Mr. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

The news was previously met by the Washington Post.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerry Kupek declined to comment.

Mr. Bush’s review, announced in May, came as part of a comprehensive, ongoing criminal investigation. Mr. Bair ordered the origin of the Russia investigation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, headed by U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut. Mr Bash was asked if the unmasking requests were inappropriate, and the purpose of his research was to put Mr Durham under investigation, officials said. Mr. Barry has told top Republicans that Dur Nov. Not expecting conclusions or new accusations by Mr. Durham before the presidential election disappointed Mr. Trump and his supporters in Congress. He hoped the probe would shed new light on the investigation into the links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Former officials who served President Obama said they were not surprised by the prosecutor’s findings.


Jim Watson / Agency France-Press / Getty Images

Mr. Durham’s investigation has led an FBI lawyer to plead guilty to altering a document used to obtain oversight against a former Trump campaign adviser. A little more has been revealed about any additional steps to be taken by Mr. Durham.

Mr Trump said in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday: “Personally, I think it’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous. That is notoriety. Mr Trump added: “I think it’s really a terrible thing that they’ve been let go – when they don’t make any accusations, they don’t really make any accusations before the election.”

In previous interviews Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Burr, who has been one of the most loyal members of his cabinet. Mr. Trump has stepped up pressure on his attorney general to take action against his political rivals in the weeks leading up to the election.

Mr. Trump told the Fox Business Network last week that “unless Bill Barrow convicts these people of the greatest political crime in our country’s history, we will be satisfied until I win.”

Former Obama administration officials said they were not surprised by Mr. Bass’s findings.

“There has never been any malpractice,” Nick Shapiro, deputy chief of staff for the Central Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, said in a statement. “This much-discussed and misleading absurdity was a politically motivated investigation launched by William Barr to appease Donald Trump, and now they are trying to bury him peacefully and pretend no abuse of power.”

Mr Flynn will resign in the week leading up to his inauguration over contradictory statements about his contacts with Russian officials before the inauguration. He later accused the FBI of lying about the talks. Even then he tried to withdraw his guilty plea. The Justice Department has moved to drop the charge against him, saying Mr. Flynn’s false statements to the FBI are not material for continued investigation.

Write to Sadie Gurman at [email protected]

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On October 15, 2020, it was printed as ‘Unmasking probe found no inappropriate laws’.