South Carolina’s senior U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says intelligence officials informed him he was the subject of an “unmasking” request over a call he had with a foreign individual that was put under surveillance.
Graham told Fox News Radio on Friday that he did not know the official’s name who requested his identity or whether intelligence agencies provided it.
“I’m a member of the Senate dealing with foreign matters all the time,” he told host Brian Kilmeade. “I’ve written the FBI, the CIA and the NSA and I want to know: was there ever any incidental collection on Senator Lindsey Graham? And, if so, was that collection ever unmasked? And, if it was unmasked, who made the request?”
“Unmasking” is the term used to describe when Americans who are incidentally caught up in surveillance activities are identified to those outside the intel community. Usually, the other individual requesting the information is involved in national security efforts.
Graham did not identify the foreign individual who would have been subject to surveillance of the phone call, or indicate if he knew which call was recorded.
The senator said he does not know if intelligence agencies responded to the request and revealed his name, but he wants to find out. “I don’t want the executive branch listening in on any conversation I have with a foreign leader,” he said. “I’m in the legislative branch. I may be talking about policy differences they have no business knowing about.”
Graham questioned if Obama administration officials sought the unmasking of some Americans for political reasons.