On Fox & Friends, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano claimed that then-President-elect Donald Trump was unmasked by the Obama administration. Napolitano said that a rule change signed off on by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch “probably triggered the unmasking of then-President-elect Trump and Gen. [Michael] Flynn.”
As NBC News has noted, “there is no evidence” that anyone on Trump’s team was improperly unmasked, and such requests are “routine” for national security officials. Nonetheless, Napolitano and others in pro-Trump media have claimed that the Obama administration improperly unmasked members of the Trump campaign, and Napolitano has called this alleged unmasking of Trump associates for political purposes “the most serious threat to personal liberty …since the Civil War.” Napolitano is a noted conspiracy theorist who has claimed without evidence that a recently-arrested former congressional information technology (IT) staffer was “selling [information] to foreign nationals and foreign intelligence services,” suggested that the government lied about the cause of the September 11 attacks, claimed that the Obama administration surveilled the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and started an international incident by suggesting that Obama had British intelligence spy on Trump Tower.
From the August 1 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: We learned that, in December, after Donald Trump had been elected and right before Barack Obama left office, very quietly Loretta Lynch, the attorney general of the United States, changed rules that permitted anyone who possessed raw intelligence data in any one of the government's 17 agencies that it recognizes publicly as being intelligence agencies to share it with anybody else. That was extremely novel and it probably triggered the unmasking of then-President Elect Trump and General Flynn. We now learned just last night that back in 2013, General Clapper, the director of national intelligence, secretly authorized members of Congress to be unmasked by administrative officials who said they needed to know who was participating in the conversation. Raw intelligence data comes, person A talking to person B, if they can't figure out who it is and they need to know who they are, then they have A unmasked and then B unmasked. Unmasking, pardon me, is only lawful if it's done for national security purpose. If it's done for a political purpose, it's a felony. This is something that [special counsel] Bob Mueller should be investigating, because the unmasking goes back deep into the Obama administration in an effort to embarrass President Trump and his allies in Congress.