In the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency, numerous Trump campaign officials were “unmasked” by then-National Security adviser Susan Rice.
Now, it seems quite clear that the move was both unprecedented and politically motivated, according to One America News Network (OAN).
Peeling off the mask
Typically, during investigations as elaborate and secretive as the one into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign team and Russia, the identities of individuals being probed are protected.
This is done to protect the individual from being scrutinized prior to the investigation being completed, and to prevent them from being falsely accused, particularly if no indictment ever materializes.
Generally speaking, the number of people who can “unmask” a protected individual is kept to a minimum. However, during the latter part of the Obama administration, all of those protocols seemed to change.
Not only were more officials given the authority to “unmask” the subjects of federal probes, but Trump officials were also unmasked for what seemed to be political reasons, according to OAN.
Breaking it down
At the time of the unmasking by Rice, the Obama administration was investigating back-channel communications between the Trump campaign and the United Arab Emirates. Suspicions had started to arise when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan came to New York in December 2016.
Since UAE diplomats did not notify the United States of his travel, as is customary, everyone’s ears went up. So in early 2017, Rice requested that Americans in a related classified report be unmasked.
The overall concern was that the UAE was setting up back-channel communications between Russia and the Trump campaign. But based on the reports of UAE officials, who stated the meeting was nothing more than getting the president-elect’s “view of the region and what the U.S. role should be,” Rice’s unmasking seems completely inappropriate.
Now the question remains: What else did the Obama administration do wrong?