Jun 3, 2017

Trump admin's changing stance on "unmasking"

Charles Dharapak / AP

The House Intelligence Committee, led by Devin Nunes and controlled by Republicans, asked spy agencies in the U.S. to "unmask" Americans last year, WashPost reports.

The committee wanted the agencies to reveal the names of five to six Americans or corporations identified in classified reports regarding Russian meddling in the election. On Thursday, Nunes tweeted: "Seeing a lot of fake news from media elites and others who have no interest in violations of Americans' civil liberties via unmaskings."

Why it matters: He and President Trump have been critical of the Obama Administration's "unmasking" efforts, but the Intelligence Committee under Trump and Nunes reportedly requested the same thing.

This week, the House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas alleging the Obama Administration illegally collected information about citizens via unmasking. "The big story is the 'unmasking and surveillance' of people that took place during the Obama administration," Trump tweeted last Thursday.

Go deeper: U.S. intelligence agencies collect numerous documents related to foreign communications, and often those reports include information about Americans or American corporations. Because of their classified nature, the U.S. intelligence agencies will "mask" the identifying information about citizens and businesses. But, those higher up in the government can request an "unmasking" of this information if they have a legitimate reason or believe it will be vital to understanding the classified reports.

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