'Unmasking' probe concludes without 'finding any substantive wrongdoing': report

Source: The Hill | October 13, 2020 | Olivia Beavers

The federal prosecutor Attorney General Bill Barr tapped to investigate whether Obama administration officials improperly requested the unmasking of individuals during the 2016 election has concluded his probe without “finding any substantive wrongdoing,” The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Barr appointed U. S. Attorney Jeremy Bash to review whether there was wrongdoing by the Obama administration in requesting the identities of individuals — in particular Trump allies — whose names are redacted in intelligence reports during the heated election.

The practice, known as unmasking, is common and done to help government officials make sense of the intelligence documents they are reviewing, but the president and his allies have alleged that Obama-era officials acted improperly in making a series of unmasking requests that ultimately led to former Trump campaign aide Michael Flynn’s name to be unmasked.

According to the Post, Bash and his team reviewed unmasking practices as well as whether officials at the time improperly leaked information to reporters. Bash reportedly turned over his findings to Barr, whose office chose not to publicly release the findings. The findings did not rise to the allegations Trump and his allies have made about wrongdoing, according to the report.

Bash announced that he would be leaving the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 5 without making any mention of the unmasking probe, but the Post reports that the move came after he had concluded his investigation, in which no criminal charges were made nor will a report of his findings be released publicly.

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