Speed Reads

masks on

Republicans are up in arms about Flynn's 'unmasking.' He was reportedly never masked in the first place.

It's hard to declassify something that was never classified to begin with.

Republicans have recently taken issue with what they call the "unmasking" of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in FBI documents, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) even announcing an investigation into the matter. But Obama administration officials didn't actually order Flynn's name unredacted in official FBI documents because his name was never redacted to begin with, former U.S. officials tell The Washington Post.

Unmasking is the practice of identifying an anonymous person in government documents to help others understand what they're reading. But conservatives have taken issue with Flynn's alleged unmasking in documents of his calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, Graham said he found it problematic that FBI files "did not contain a record showing who unmasked" Flynn and asked for that information himself; some conservatives have suggested former Vice President Joe Biden was to blame.

But the source of the unmasking may not have been in the FBI files because Flynn was never anonymous in the first place, the Post reports. "When the FBI circulated [the report], they included Flynn's name from the beginning" because it was necessary for understanding the call, one former senior official said. "There were therefore no requests for the unmasking of that information." An aide to Graham still said he'd like to see the director of national intelligence answer his letter. Read more at The Washington Post.