House Intel Committee Sought 'Unmaskings' Last Year — WashPost
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 05, 2017,
Jun 05, 2017, 14:35
The latest example came Wednesday afternoon, when Nunes issued three subpoenas targeting documents regarding former Obama administration officials in his own probe of unmasking - without getting sign-offs from the House Democrats.
Unmasking refers to an internal process within the classified world by which names the names of Americans that are collected while another target is being spied upon are uncovered at the request of intelligence agencies. Schiff said Thursday that he believes Nunes is violating his recusal from Russian Federation probe by doing so. A spokeswoman for Senator Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the panel "welcomes the testimony of former Director Comey, but does not have an announcement to make at this time".
He also this week issued subpoenas to three former Obama administration officials to testify on their any requests they made to unmask USA individuals. Nunes recused himself from the probe after his political blunder of sharing intelligence with President Donald Trump before his committee members.
Four current and former US officials who have reviewed the materials told Reuters there was no evidence that political motives drove Obama's aides to request the names be unredacted. The three Obama-era officials did not receive personal subpoenas, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Comey, who was sacked less than four years into his 10-year term as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is expected to talk about his conversations with the president and the notes he took about those talks. The GOP staffer, who was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the chairman has the authority to sign off on subpoenas and that all the committee rules were followed.
"Unmasking" is revealing the identity of individuals or organizations whose conversations or other data are caught up in the massive monitoring of overseas calls and other communications by USA intelligence agencies.
The former FBI chief is expected to testify on conversations he had with Trump in which the president reportedly pressured him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, one of several Trump associates who are drawing scrutiny in a series of probes about Russian Federation and last year's US election.
But House Intelligence committee staff members would not confirm the reports, and one said whatever subpoenas might have been issued were not part of the committee's Russian Federation probe and had not been approved by the Democrats on the committee.
"The behavior of Nunes - whatever we're calling him, "Chairman Recused, 'Un-recused, 'I didn't mean recuse, when I said and gave you the impression of recused" - whatever that loosey-goosey (definition) is - is beneath the dignity of being a chairman of the intelligence committee", Pelosi said.
Also on Thursday, Democrats raised more questions about contacts during the campaign between the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, and President Donald Trump's attorney general, former Sen.
"Many such requests have yet to be complied with, and neither member believes that interviews should be scheduled until they are answered in full", the senior committee aide told Politico.
The four Russia-oriented subpoenas were all requested by Schiff, and are duplicative of subpoenas issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to Fox News.
That veteran knowledge of intelligence practices seemed to escape Nunes, however, when he pushed the premise that the intel community acted shady toward Trump campaign officials.
Republicans on the panel have sought information about who requested "unmasking" of officials in secret government documents. Ahead of the presidential poll, thousands of hacked emails of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, and the Democratic National Committee were leaked.