As more former Obama administration officials are being subpoenaed, the net is starting to tighten.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee has now issued subpoenas on three former high-level Obama officials who may have knowledge regarding the US government spying on the Trump campaign.

This latest probe is unmasking how the former administration used US intelligence services to intercept emails and other communication in the campaign.

While most of the media is following Trump’s alleged connections to the Russians, the bigger story is the “weaponizing” of US intelligence for political advantage by the Obama administration.

Most American names are blacked out of intelligence reports, but these three officials asked for the copies without the redactions, turning an international investigation into surveillance on US citizens.

Bill Gertz reports in The Washington Free Beacon:

A House investigation into improper intelligence gathering gained momentum this week after subpoenas were issued for records on three Obama administration political appointees.

U.S. officials said the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence this week ordered the National Security Agency, FBI, and CIA to produce records on all requests made by the three senior officials for the names of Americans redacted in electronic intercepts of conversations of foreign officials, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The newest target of the investigation that began in March is former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, a long-time Obama confidant.

The other two being probed as part of the committee’s investigation into potentially improper political spying are former CIA Director John Brennan and former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

The subpoenas were issued Wednesday by Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), who in April revealed that “dozens” of classified intelligence reports appeared to have improperly unmasked the names of Americans inadvertently spied on during foreign intelligence surveillance operations.

The committee wants the three agencies to disclose the details about the three former officials’ requests of the agencies to provide the hidden identities of the Americans who were caught in electronic surveillance.

The investigation into unmasking activities of Americans was initially part of the intelligence oversight panel’s investigation of Russian political influence operations during the 2016 election.

The issuing of subpoenas related to the disclosure of Americans’ identities are a sign that the probe into the potential political spying by the Obama administration has been elevated.

Procedures for electronic intercepts that incidentally spy on Americans require blacking out the names of the Americans in a bid to protect privacy rights.

In cases usually limited to those involving terrorists or foreign intelligence operatives communicating with Americans, senior government officials can request that hidden names contained in raw transcripts be revealed in order to better understand the context of conversations.

The unmasking is restricted to officials with a need to know and the dissemination of the revealed names is supposed to be limited within intelligence and government agencies.

House investigators believe the Obama administration sought to exploit the intelligence reports by first obtaining the masked names and then widely disseminating the reports in a bid to make identifying any leaks to the press more difficult.

“It’s clear that people on the Hill have found indications that high-level officials of the Obama administration weaponized American intelligence,” said a senior U.S. official.

The officials said the probe into possible political intelligence gathering by the Obama administration is now a separate inquiry from the Russia probe that has been dominating major news outlets’ coverage over the past several weeks.

By contrast, the improper unmasking activities have been largely ignored by most news media that have instead focused extensive coverage on the Russian collusion allegations.

Trump, who has called the collusion allegations “fake news,” joined the fray on Thursday, tweeting, “The big story is the ‘unmasking and surveillance’ of people that took place during the Obama Administration.”