I hope Sean takes this as far as he can take it and continue to “unmask” the corruption that is still leaking from the Obama administration.
One of the outgoing scandals to hit the Obama administration had to do with a series of rather liberal requests for “unmasking” of intelligence data. Unmasking refers to the act of revealing the classified identities of people, typically U.S. citizens, being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies.
According to USA Today:
When U.S. spy agencies eavesdrop on terrorists or foreign agents, they often come across information about U.S. citizens who are not the target of their investigation. This “incidental collection” is not illegal or improper, but specially trained intelligence officers are required to go through an established procedure to protect the privacy of U.S. persons, known as “minimization.”
If a national security official who receives an intelligence report feels like he or she needs to know the identity of a U.S. person in an intelligence report, that official can make a request to “unmask.”
The procedures for doing so are less well understood than the minimization process, but about 20 officials at the National Security Agency have the authority to approve an unmasking, NSA Director Michael Rogers told the House Intelligence Committee last month.
Conservative radio and Fox News television host Sean Hannity recently found out that he may have been unmasked by the Obama administration in its surveillance of the various actors in the 2016 election. On his radio show this week, Hannity went on a scorched earth tirade against the administration, explaining that he would take drastic legal action against the former administration were he to discover that this had happened:
“I have it on pretty good authority that I’ve been ‘unmasked,’ among other things. And by the way, if I find out, I am going to sanction the biggest lawsuit that I possibly can with the biggest attorneys in the country so we can do something to stop the shredding of our Constitution. I will do that because that is illegal and if my rights are violated, we will find a way to make this happen.”
Hannity later tweeted that he was lawyering up for the case:
Last April, Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice was accused of making requests to unmask the names of Trump associates for political purposes by some in the Obama administration. Rice denied the claim and described her requests as routine.
In interviews, according to USA Today, Rice said:
“There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to. Name not provided, just a U.S. person. And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information, as to who the U.S. official was.
So they’d take that question back, they’d put it through a process, and the intelligence community made the determination as to whether or not the identity of that American individual could be provided to me.”
The threats from Hannity to the Obama administration may answer the question of what he teased on Twitter Monday: