Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Icarus
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Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

Post by Icarus »

Apparently this non-crime that Trump asserts we all know to be true because it's "obvious to everyone," rests primarily on the latest manufactured scandal over unmasking.
WASHINGTON — In 2016, Obama administration officials received intelligence reports that were concerning, but incomplete.

Surveillance of Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. revealed he had interacted with an unnamed American who may have been undercutting efforts to pressure Vladimir Putin’s government.

Using a common process known as “unmasking,” they asked intelligence agencies to reveal the American’s name. It was Michael Flynn, an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

The unmasking of Flynn has become Exhibit A in Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that he and his aides were the targets of a scandalous Obama administration “witch hunt.”

The top intelligence official, Richard Grenell, now has stepped into the unmasking issue, declassifying the names of the Obama administration officials who may have requested the unmasking. Those names, disclosed Wednesday by two Republican senators, included Trump’s Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden.

There is nothing illegal about unmasking and the declassified document states that proper procedures were followed. While Trump casts unmasking as sinister, his administration has used the process more frequently than Obama’s.

Questions and answers about “unmasking” Americans’ names in intelligence briefs:

WHAT IS UNMASKING?

During routine, legal surveillance of foreign targets, names of Americans occasionally come up in conversations. Foreigners could be talking about a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident by name, or a foreigner could be speaking directly to an American. When an American’s name is swept up in surveillance of foreigners, it is called “incidental collection.” In these cases, the name of the American is masked before the intelligence is distributed to administration officials to avoid invading that person’s privacy.

Unless there is a clear intelligence value to knowing the American’s name, it is not revealed in the reports. The intelligence report would refer to the person only as “U.S. Person 1” or U.S. Person 2.” If U.S. officials with proper clearance to review the report want to know the identity, they can ask the agency that collected the information — perhaps the FBI, CIA or National Security Agency — to “unmask” the name.

Unmasking requests are common, according to Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director and host of “Intelligence Matters” podcast.

“Literally hundreds of times a year across multiple administrations. In general, senior officials make the requests when necessary to understand the underlying intelligence. I myself did it several times a month and NSA adjudicates the request. You can’t do your job without it,” he said.

Morell emphasized that unmasking is not the same as declassification. “When a name is unmasked, the underlying intelligence to include the name remains classified so leaking it would be a crime.”
___

WHEN WOULD AN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY UNMASK A NAME?

The request is not automatically granted. The person asking has to have a good reason. Typically, the reason is that not knowing the name makes it impossible to fully understand the intelligence provided.

The name is released only if the official requesting it has a need to know and the “identity is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance,” according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s latest report, which includes statistics on unmasking. “Additional approval by a designated NSA official is also required.”

Former NSA Director Mike Rogers has said that only 20 of his employees could approve an unmasking. The names are shared only with the specific official who asked. They are not released publicly. Leaking a name, or any classified information, is illegal.
___

HOW OFTEN ARE NAMES UNMASKED?

The number of unmasking requests began being released to the public in response to recommendations in 2014 from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

There were 9,217 unmasking requests in the 12-month period between September 2015 and August 2016, the first period in which numbers are publicly available. The period was during the latter years of the Obama administration.

The number rose during the Trump administration. The 9,529 requests in 2017 grew to 16,721 in 2018 and 10,012 last year.

It’s not unusual for the U.S. government to use intelligence collected from foreigners to get a sense of how other countries view the administration.

Also, at the end of the Obama administration, the FBI and the NSA were looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. One aim of the probe was to find out whether any Trump associates had colluded with Russia to help Trump get elected.

Because of that review, intelligence agencies were generating more reports that were shared with senior Obama officials.

___

WHY IS THIS ISSUE BEING DISCUSSED IN THE NEWS NOW?

Trump and his supporters have made the unmasking of Flynn one of their major talking points and discussions of it have become a fixture on conservative media. They claim it proves that Obama administration unfairly — and maybe illegally — targeted Flynn and other Trump associates.

But there’s no evidence the unmasking of Flynn was illegal. The memo released by the Republican senators notes that it was approved through the NSA’s “standard process.”

Democrats see the unmasking issue as aimed at energizing Trump’s base at a time when the president’s response to COVID-19 has been called into question and he faces the prospect of running for reelection with the worst economy since the Great Depression.

The role of Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence and a Trump loyalist, in declassifying the names of Obama officials who had unmasked Flynn, will likely add to criticism that Trump has bent nonpartisan national security agencies to serve him politically. The decision follows the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian ambassador.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... story.html

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Except you need a warrant to unmask. A lot of the warrants they got fraudulently based on a dossier they knew to be false.

Tic toc Jim Comey. Why Trump didn't fire you sooner I don't know.

Obama's cabinet admitted talking to foreign officials before Jan 20, 2009. Was that what they really wanted, The Logan Act violations. No they were trying to get Trump and trampling on Gen Flynns 4th amendment constitutional rights was the means that in their mind was justified by getting Trump out and overturning the election any way possible.
Last edited by ajax18 on Thu May 14, 2020 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Except you need a wasrant to unmask. A lot of the warrants they got fraudulently based on a dossier they knew to be false.

Tic toc Jim Comey. Why Trump didn't fire you sooner I don't know.

Obama's cabinet admitted talking to foreign officials before Jan 20, 2009. Was that what they really wanted, The Logan Act violations. No they were trying to get Trump and trampling on Gen Flynns 4th amendment constitutional rights was the means that in their mind was justified by getting Trump out and overturning the election any way possinle.
Last edited by ajax18 on Thu May 14, 2020 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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The tables are turning everytime we we change the politics in our incredibly partisan cabinet positions.
Last edited by ajax18 on Thu May 14, 2020 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Should we not know of former US military generals being on the payroll of hostile foreign governments, when they are peddling their influence and perhaps selling sensitive information? Seems we have a right to know of traitors in our midst.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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ajax18 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:29 pm
Tic toc Jim Comey. Why Trump didn't fire you sooner I don't know.
Getting rid of those who were not imminently corruptible from the very start, eh? Would the job announcements read, "only dishonest toadies need apply?"

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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ajax18 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:19 pm
Except you need a wasrant to unmask. A lot of the warrants they got fraudulently based on a dossier they knew to be false.

Tic toc Jim Comey. Why Trump didn't fire you sooner I don't know.

Obama's cabinet admirtted talking to foreign officials before Jan 20, 2009. Was thst what they really wanted, The Logan Act violations. No they were trying to get Trump and trampling on Gen Flynns 4th amendment constitutional rights was the means that in their mind was justified by getting Trump out and overturning the election any way possinle.
Cite the law that says a warrant was required.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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If "Obamagate" takes off, I will admit that I underestimated just how ____ stupid and gullible the Trump/Fox News base really is.

Holy Christ, these people are ____ brain dead.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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There is nothing illegal about requesting the unmasking of people. This is a 100% contrived scandal that was created for the one purpose of creating cover for the trump administration

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Icarus wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:27 am
There is nothing illegal about requesting the unmasking of people. This is a 100% contrived scandal that was created for the one purpose of creating cover for the trump administration
Not only is it 100% contrived, it's 100% obvious that it's contrived. To not recognize that right away makes a person the definition of a lemming. I first saw "Obamagate" somewhere and right away I thought, Oh, so that's what they're going to do. I wonder what idiot GOP pundit came up with that idea.

Then you see a reporter ask Trump about the actual crime here and he says, "You know what it is..." No, douche bag. We don't. That's why he asked. In fact, it sounds like you just made it up... it's that ____ stupid an idea.

He really believes he can convince everyone of a thing if he just says it forcefully enough. This is one clue that he's a ____ moron.
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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

Post by Some Schmo »

(repeat)

Trump's a douche!

(Why waste space?)

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Icarus wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:27 am
There is nothing illegal about requesting the unmasking of people. This is a 100% contrived scandal that was created for the one purpose of creating cover for the trump administration
Is that why Brennan resorted to the "I don't recall," when questioned by Trey Gowdy about the unmasking. He was basically lying to Congress. Why isn't he in jail for perjury?

Why was Samantha Powers willing to lie to the reporter back in 2017 saying the unmasking allegations were false? And why does an ambassador to the UN need to unmask Gen. Flynn's private conversation with a Russian official? There was a jump from around 300 masking requests in Obama's first term to over 3300 requests in his second.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Yet again we see Ajax doesn’t read anything posted here that goes past a few sentences. If he had he would’ve seen over 35,000 unmasking requests have been made under Trump’s tenure. No biggie, right?

- Doc
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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

Post by Icarus »

ajax18 wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:44 pm
Icarus wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:27 am
There is nothing illegal about requesting the unmasking of people. This is a 100% contrived scandal that was created for the one purpose of creating cover for the trump administration
Is that why Brennan resorted to the "I don't recall," when questioned by Trey Gowdy about the unmasking. He was basically lying to Congress. Why isn't he in jail for perjury?

Why was Samantha Powers willing to lie to the reporter back in 2017 saying the unmasking allegations were false? And why does an ambassador to the UN need to unmask Gen. Flynn's private conversation with a Russian official? There was a jump from around 300 masking requests in Obama's first term to over 3300 requests in his second.
So wait a minute, is this Brennangate or OBAMAGATE?

You're constantly making debunked claims and then shifting your ground when busted. But Brennan failing to remember requesting unmasking is hardly earth shattering when he probably did it 100+ times that same month and we're not even sure if he was successfully unmasked by his request.

A warrant is not required for REQUESTING to the intelligence community unmask someone. The fact that he/she needs to be unmasked means they don't know who the person is, which blows out of the water any claim that he was targeted for political reasons.

I can see how a warrant would be required if a request to unmask was DENIED but simply requesting isn't suspicious, not when it happens thousands of times every year, and even more so during the Trump administration. The fact that FOX and the Right Wing propaganda mill has managed to convince people there is something unusual or sinister about this is a testament to your collective stupidity.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Again, Ajax, the report you are relying on doesn't mean every person named specifically was person who requested the "unmasking" of Flynn's name. It means that is a list of people potentially privy to his unredacted name and potentially could've made a request. There's a difference that you're just jumping right over. Also, saying "I don't recall" does not constitute perjury which is why Trump officials, including Flynn, keep having extensive episodes of amnesia.

His name was unredacted in intelligence reports because it was necessary to understand which US citizen was involved in the matters under question when a US citizen was caught in our spy operations against foreign powers having conversations where it would be reasonable to know which US citizen was having them.

As it turns out, one of the conversations Flynn was having was with the Russian ambassador. After Russia intervened in the US election to assist Donald Trump and was facing retaliatory sanctions by the United States, Flynn had a conversation with the ambassador to urge Russia to not respond in kind with the promise that US sanctions would be dropped when Trump took over. He then lied about this in public and, if you believe the Trump admin wasn't in on it, to Mike Pence. Because lying about potentially embarrassing conversations with Russian officials makes you a potential blackmail target, the FBI investigated and he lied about it to them. This was one of several crimes Flynn ended up committing. It was the one he pled guilty to in a plea bargain for his cooperation not to charge him on other matters, including lying about being an unregistered foreign agent for multiple countries, which, in one case, involved him helping with a plot to kidnap an American resident and deliver him to a dictator who wants his head on a pike.

The potential illegal activity here is that a person leaked Flynn's behavior with respect to the Russian ambassador to the press. It depends on who did it. That person had just cause to do so given the facts, but that is what will go beyond crazed innuendo if they ever catch that person and it turns out they were not in a position to legally divulge that information to the press.

You're jumping on a ginned up pseudo-scandal made up out of nothing, ignoring a real open-air scandal about how US intelligence is being weaponized to help Donald Trump's election efforts, and holding a whole range of serious malfeasance on the part of Trump and his inner circle to a wildly different standard of impropriety.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

Post by EAllusion »

And if you believe the theories of executive power you pretend to when Donald Trump's defenders are invoking him to keep him above the law, then Barack Obama and anyone underneath him he deems fit has an inherent right to see anything and everything intelligence is lawfully intercepting unredacted because he is, by definition, the US intelligence operation with everyone else just sharing in his labor at his discretion.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Everything about Trump and his base is encapsulated in the time Trump called a former Miss America "disgusting" because she had apparently gained weight.

This, coming from a bunch of fat, disgusting pigs.

Trump should wear a mask just to raise his poll numbers. People might forget what an ugly ____ he is.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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including lying about being an unregistered foreign agent for multiple countries
Is the Flynn the first future cabinet member for an incoming administration to have conversations with foreign government leaders before January 20?
It depends on who did it. That person had just cause to do so given the facts, but that is what will go beyond crazed innuendo if they ever catch that person and it turns out they were not in a position to legally divulge that information to the press.
Could Comey be prosecuted for his admitted leaking? It just seems odd to me that leaking is so common and seems to be done with impunity.
And if you believe the theories of executive power you pretend to when Donald Trump's defenders are invoking him to keep him above the law, then Barack Obama and anyone underneath him he deems fit has an inherent right to see anything and everything intelligence is lawfully intercepting unredacted because he is, by definition, the US intelligence operation with everyone else just sharing in his labor at his discretion.
Well I seriously doubt Obama will ever be held accountable for any of this any more than he was held accountable for Benghazi.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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Ajax, you said that the unmasking required a warrant. Cite the law that says that.

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

Post by Some Schmo »

Markk must be locked out of the forum. I wonder why we haven't gotten extensive nonsense on this idiotic subject from him as well.

Joe Scarborough is right. The GOP base is like a cat trying to catch a laser dot on a wall. Reality is not their strength.

What's the next conspiracy you got lined up guys, for when, you know, this one fizzles out?

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Re: Obamagate and Unmasking Flynn

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ajax18 wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 2:02 pm

Could Comey be prosecuted for his admitted leaking? It just seems odd to me that leaking is so common and seems to be done with impunity.
What did he leak Ajax? Oh right, he leaked the fact that Trump asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn. If Obama had done this you would be recommending Comey for a medal.
Well I seriously doubt Obama will ever be held accountable for any of this any more than he was held accountable for Benghazi.
You mean that other pseudo-scandal that wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on six investigations that turned up no evidence of wrong doing?

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