Spygate ‘unmasking’ probe by U.S. attorney ends with no referrals or report

Spygate ‘unmasking’ probe by U.S. attorney ends with no referrals or report
G-men. John Durham and John Bash, on the Spygate case. DOJ photos

[Ed. – This is the one undertaken by the USA for West Texas, John Bash, as delegated by Durham.  It’s not a surprise and doesn’t mean anything about the legitimacy of the unmaskings.  It has sounded all along as if the Bash investigation was limited to the formal unmaskings done by top Obama officials, and there was zero chance that Bash would find they were done illegally.  The people who did them had the authority.  It’s a moral or political call, not a legal one, to impugn their actions and motives.  It doesn’t sound to me as if Bash looked into “backdoor” unmaskings — i.e., FISA Section 702 queries on tailored search terms — but those, which clearly underlay the spreadsheets Devin Nunes saw at the NSC staff, are a grayer and more problematic area.  I’ve seen collateral evidence that the Trump administration has been pursuing the history of that activity since 2017.  Meantime, it’s Durham’s call how Bash’s findings are used.]

The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.

The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department. The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.

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