Judge Andrew Napolitano addresses the question of when is it right and when is it wrong to unmask the identity of an American. Susan Rice is not going to like what he’s got to say. Napolitano points out that the key points are what “Rice did with the name once unmasked and why she unmasked it.”
He says, “The government surveils conversations and she believes that the conversations involve a foreign power so she asks for a transcript of the conversation. She gets it immediately, and she sees American person 1, foreign agent, American person 1, foreign agent. She feels knowing who the American person 1 is will help her understand the conversation, the NSA gives her the name. That is called unmasking. That’s legal – unmasking for the purpose of developing a further understanding of the national security reason for the conversation.”
Napolitano continues, “Unmasking for another reason – politics, vengeance, curiosity, embarrassment; that is profoundly illegal. So if the conversation, instead of between foreign agent and American 1 is between American 1 and American 2, and number 1 is Donald Trump and number 2 is Paul Manafort, and she sees what they’re talking about, she whispers in the ‘president’s’ ear, ‘guess what Trump and Manafort talked about tonight, and we’re back in July, that’s called espionage.”
Judge Napolitano explains, “Because the true name of American 1 in a National Security Administration intelligence report is protected by a top secret status, the highest protection we have. And the revelation of top secrets for an improper purpose or the reckless handling of top secrets as Hillary Clinton was accused of doing with her emails, is a felony.”
So the answer to Chris’ question is, it depends on what the unmasking was done for and to whom the real name of this person was released. Somebody unmasked Lt. Gen Mike Flynn and President-elect Donald Trump. And whoever did committed a felony.”
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