The House and Senate intelligence committees are expanding their investigation into the so-called “unmasking” controversy.
They will be auditing files from the National Security Agency and White House to determine whether identities and conversations of members of Congress or presidential candidates other than Trump were swept up during NSA surveillance of foreign leaders and whether this intelligence was misused for political purposes.
For a private U.S. citizen to be “unmasked,” or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare and typically only done if it has some foreign intelligence value. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.
If the names were unmasked in intelligence reports and then leaked to the media for political reasons, it could constitute criminal behavior.