What Is “Unmasking”?


Ok, the hot word of the past few days has been “unmasking”. 

But everyone just started using it expecting us to know what it means.

Are you confused?  I was.

Here’s the scoop, this is a great explanation from the Daily Mail:

WHAT IS UNMASKING?

When U.S. intelligence services conduct court-approved surveillance of foreign targets, it’s possible that American citizens can be swept up in recorded conversations, intercepted emails or other surveillance.

That can happen when Americans who are not targets of an investigation are ‘incidentally’ captured talking to a target. it can also occur when targets merely mention them during a conversation or in a document.

When this happens, intelligence analysts routinely delete the Americans’ names and replace them with vague identifiers like ‘U.S. Person Number One’ or ‘Person A’ – masking their identity from other government officials who may look at reports.

Senior intelligence officials can request the ‘unmasking’ of those names under certain circumstances, but that creates a risk that the names will be leaked.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week that the Trump administration had uncovered unspecified material ‘in the normal course of business,’ which was then shared with the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican chairman Devin Nunes.

Bloomberg reports that the National Security Council was conducting a review of U.S. policy on how people’s identities can be unmasked after their communications are captured incidentally in the course of conducting foreign surveillance.

That routine inquiry apparently uncovered a pattern of Rice’s requests.

The names of U.S. citizens who aren’t the targets of court-approved snooping are typically replaced with designations such as ‘U.S. Person One’ or ‘Person A’ before reports can be circulated to the broad variety of American intelligence agencies.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, one of the Trump administration intelligence officials who showed Nunes the mysterious materials last week, was conducting the ‘unmasking’ review.

Read the full article here:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4376288/Obama-s-national-security-advisor-ASKED-unmasking.html

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