Rand Paul Appears To Have Stepped In It As NSA Letter Exposes His Failed Attempt To Take Down Joe Biden With “Unmasking” Theory

He's absolutely pathetic.

619 points

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is nothing if not his father’s son. Former Texas Congressman and erstwhile presidential candidate Ron Paul, darling of both abolish-the-IRS Tea Party types and weed-smoking frat boys who didn’t know Paul would take away their girlfriends’ volleyball scholarships if he won, was famous for advancing conspiracy theories both tame and fantastical, from the floor of the House or in the pages of his racist newsletter.

But spinning yarns clearly wasn’t the only talent that the elder Paul passed on to his son. A flair for the dramatic was obviously important in order to peddle these curiosities, and he quite obviously didn’t skip a single lesson.

Rand Paul, apparently still an apprentice at public fantasies, just didn’t learn that well from the master. Otherwise, his ruse to convince America that there was a sinister conspiracy to “unmask” disgraced former Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (who pled guilty multiple times to charges of lying to the FBI) by Joe Biden and the former administration, and to make people believe that he’d “discovered” this conspiracy, wouldn’t have been so transparently, hilariously stupid.


It began with a tweet from Senator Paul’s official government account:

The siren, the exclamation points, the news-at-11 cliffhanger… What is this, Alex Jones’ Amateur Hour?

Then the Senator dangled the bait:

That’s red meat for Republican piranhas: “Unmasking,” three name-drops, and the word “testify” all add up to… Well, they don’t actually add up to much, but the kind of voters who listen to Rand Paul might think they do. In truth, by the time he wrote this tweet, he already knew that Grenell, the Director of National Intelligence, wouldn’t be testifying. Oh, and he knew that Grenell — whose job, unlike Senator Paul’s, requires him to know this stuff, actually knew all about it at the beginning of May:

So what’s “unmasking”? We learned about it a few years ago when Republicans tried to nail Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, for doing the same thing to Trump campaign officials. It’s when national security documents contain classified names — that is, blacked out by redaction — involved in sensitive activities, and officials ask that the names which are redacted be “unmasked” so they can investigate further.

It’s a totally legal process that’s done about 10,000 times every year.

But when Senator Paul insisted that Joe Biden had “ordered” the unmasking of General Flynn’s name from a classified conversation, he was flat-out wrong:

It’s literally impossible to order the unmasking of a specific person, because the whole purpose of the unmasking exercise, literally what happens when you unmask someone, is finding out who the person is to begin with. The order, if any such thing came from Biden, would have been to unmask “Individual 1” or “Name redacted in paragraph 7” or some such thing — certainly not “take the black bar off Flynn’s name.” Biden wouldn’t have known it was Flynn’s name redacted in the document.

The whole charade would be funny if it weren’t so obviously an attempt to influence the 2020 election on behalf of the unhinged president that Rand Paul loves so much.

Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0

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