Obamagate and the Unmasking “Scandal”

Ken AshfordElection 2020, Political Scandals, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

The buzzword of the week is “Obamagate”. Trump has tweeted that word several times this week.

What IS Obamagate? Well, Trump was asked that himself.

SO…. nobody knows. Not even Trump.

However, there is also a lot of hubbub about “umasking”

Republican senators have obtained a list of top Obama administration officials who sought the “unmasking” of General Michael Flynn.

Richard Grenell, acting director of national intelligence and ambassador to Germany, declassified the list of Obama officials who had sought Flynn’s unmasking earlier this week. It includes Biden, former FBI director James Comey, and other key intelligence officials, according to Fox News:

The roster features top-ranking figures including then Vice President Joe Biden—a detail already being raised by the Trump campaign in the bare-knuckle 2020 presidential race where Biden is now the Democrats’ presumptive nominee.

The list also includes then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough.

That’s it. That’s the facts.

The utterly desperate attempts to create some kind of narrative that Joe Biden is involved in shenanigans has reached a new level of absurdity with this “unmasking” nonsense. Anyone who buys into it is not a serious person.

Do you guys realize how routine this is?

Government rules intended to minimize invasions of Americans’ privacy in intelligence work generally require “masking,” or obscuring, Americans’ identities and information about them in reports based on foreign intelligence surveillance.

But the rules also permit recipients of such reports to request an unmasking if the identity is necessary to understand the information, and that step is routine: The National Security Agency handled about 10,000 unmasking requests in 2019 and nearly 17,000 in 2018.

Over 10,000 unmasking requests a year. And that’s during the Trump administration.

If you’re uninformed enough to be taken in by the propaganda suggesting that the mere act of asking for the “unmasking” of someone (whose identity you do not know by definition which is why you are asking) is somehow sinister, you must think the Trump administration is a hotbed of corruption. (Which it is, but this is not evidence of that. At all.)

If you’re arguing that it was improper to make a request to unmask someone who turned out to be Flynn with respect to the Kislyak call, you’re simply not arguing in good faith. Full stop.

If you’re arguing that it was improper to make a request to unmask someone who turned out to be Flynn with respect to something else, you do realize all it means is that there is other intelligence out there besides the Kislyak call which would raise the eyebrows of those in the IC. And it turns out that is the case for Flynn, who (for example) was taking money from Turkey to represent their interests without registering as a foreign agent, and lying about it … and don’t even get me started on that wacky kidnapping plot.

Honestly, the only truly troubling thing here is the compiling of the list of those who submitted an unmasking request:

“It’s not at all surprising that individuals in official positions related to U.S.-Russia relations would want to know what was behind intelligence reports,” said Mr. [Douglas E.] Lute [the former ambassador to NATO, who was on the list], who declined to discuss the classified intelligence he saw. “What is surprising is that our acting director of national intelligence would be moved to compile and release this list of officials — most with longstanding, distinguished public service careers — apparently to fuel a partisan conspiracy theory.”

Well, in truth, it’s less surprising given the identity of the partisan hack who compiled the list. But in a larger sense, putting that aside …

Yup. What garbage. This administration is incredibly corrupt and dishonest. The sweaty air of despair is palpable.

There is an election coming up, and they’re looking for a “lock her up” for 2020.