• The Financial District


The US Justice Department has ended its probe into whether Obama administration officials improperly “unmasked” associates of President Donald Trump mentioned in intelligence reports, two congressional sources said. It found no wrongdoing, one of the sources told Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch of Reuters.

Unmasking refers to the naming of US citizens whose identities were blacked out in reports from the National Security Agency (NSA) that captured their communications with a foreign national. Trump and his allies have sought to portray the use of the process during the administration of his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama, as a misuse of government authority. It is a routine practice, and Trump administration officials have made thousands of such requests, government statistics show.

The Justice Department in May appointed John Bash, a federal prosecutor from Texas, to lead the inquiry after Republican senators unveiled a declassified list of US officials who made requests that ultimately disclosed intercepted conversations between Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador. Bash resigned from the department this month without a mention of his findings. The Washington Post, which first reported the results of Bash’s review, said the Justice Department did not intend to release the results.

Last year Barr appointed John Durham, a federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to investigate US intelligence officials for their handling of a probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign. Barr told some lawmakers not to expect a report before Election Day on Nov. 3 because Durham is focused on prosecutions and he fears a public report could interfere with that goal, according to a Capitol Hill aide familiar with the matter.

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