EXECUTIVE

Obama administration records on Trump team 'unmasking' withheld from Judicial Watch

Malia Zimmerman

A high-level group in the White House is stonewalling attempts by a government watchdog to obtain records about the Obama administration’s so-called unmasking of people on President Trump’s campaign and transition teams, according to Judicial Watch.

The government watchdog group told Fox News that the National Security Council, a White House group that advises the president on national security matters and foreign affairs, responded in a May 23 letter that the records have been transferred to President Obama’s as-yet-unopened library in Chicago — and won’t be available to the public for five years.

Judicial Watch’s efforts to obtain these documents comes as Fox News broke a story in April regarding National Security Council Adviser Susan Rice being among Obama appointees who during the last presidential election, asked for identities of U.S. citizens linked to the Trump campaign and transition teams who were caught up in U.S. intelligence surveillance.

Disclosure of the names of American citizens identified in the course of intelligence collection activities is known as unmasking.

“Rice’s personal involvement in unmasking the identities of U.S. persons from [U.S. intelligence] collection activities is extraordinarily unusual and smacks of an unlawful domestic political intelligence operation being run out of the Obama White House,” Chris Farrell, director of research and investigation for Judicial Watch, told Fox News.

“The president, Congress and law enforcement can gain access to the records.  Judicial Watch will fight for them, too.”

The secrecy around these materials also is raising hackles for other reasons.

"It costs taxpayers over $100 million a year to support presidential libraries that can take as long as 100 years to release archival material on how a president really governed,” said John Fund, former Fox News contributor, and author of “Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” and “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.” 

He added: “Outrageous. This represents a bad deal for taxpayers, a whitewashing of the historical record and a playpen for the politically connected boosters of an ex-president. Reform is urgently needed."

Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman