GOP Senators Reveals List of Obama Admin Officials Who Requested Unmasking of Michael Flynn
The acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell sent a list of officials in former President Barack Obama’s administration who received “unmasking” information on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to Congress.
Republican senators released that list to the public on Wednesday afternoon.
Unmasking happens after a conversation between a U.S. citizen and a foreign official is picked up by intelligence agencies.
Typically, the citizen’s identity is protected — or “masked” — if they are not suspected of wrongdoing, but officials can go through an “unmasking” process to determine the identity of the citizen.
The list released on Wednesday includes former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Powers, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The list also includes a variety of ambassadors and officials in the Department of Treasury.
Read the list below:
SCOOP @CBSNews obtains @RichardGrenell notification to congress declassified “unmasking list” Flynn between late 2016 and January 2017 – Read 3 pages provided by NSA here pic.twitter.com/NozVpQlRn2
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 13, 2020
Grenell reportedly declassified the list earlier this week, and Republican senators asked him and the Department of Justice to release the names of the individuals who received such information.
“I declassified the enclosed document, which I am providing to you for your situational awareness,” Grenell wrote in a letter to Republican senators.
The letter says the documents include a list of individuals who “may have received Lt. Gen Flynn’s identity in response to a request processed between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017 to unmask an identity that had been generically referred to in an NSA foreign intelligence report.”
It continued, “Each individual was an authorized recipient of the original report, and the unmasking was approved through NSA’s standard process, which includes a review of the justification for the request.”
“While the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm they saw the unmasked information. This response does not include any requests outside of the specified time-frame,” the letter added.
“We are making this public because the American people have a right to know what happened. We commend Acting DNI Grenell and Attorney General Barr for their transparency and responsiveness,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said in a statement.
He added, “The officials listed should confirm whether they reviewed this information, why they asked for it and what they did with it, and answer many other questions that have been raised by recent revelations.”
According to the document, Powers made seven unmasking requests, Clapper made three requests, Brennan made two requests, Comey made one request, McDonough made one request, and Biden made one request — which was the last name on the list.
The release of the list comes one day after Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he was “aware that they asked for an investigation” of Flynn, as IJR reported.
“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn number one,” he added.
Republicans have accused Obama administration officials of improperly unmasking associates of President Donald Trump for political purposes. While several officials have admitted they requested unmasking information, they have maintained their requests were not improper.
Shortly after the list was released, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) invited Grenell to testify before the Senate.
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