by WorldTribune Staff, May 12, 2020
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell said he has decided to declassify information on Obama administration officials who were behind the “unmasking” of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Reports say Grenell gave the list of Obama-era officials to the Department of Justice last week. It is now up to Attorney General William Barr to release the names publicly.
Asked if former President Barack Obama’s name is on the list of officials involved in unmasking Flynn, a source “would not say but stressed the list would make waves,” Fox News reported.
U.S. law permits intelligence agencies to spy on foreigners. But when those foreign officials speak with a U.S. citizen, the American’s identity is “masked” and officials need good and specified reason to “unmask” it.
The Obama administration reportedly learned of Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak through the process of “unmasking.” The unmasking concerns events between the November 2016 election and Inauguration Day 2017, Fox News reported.
Another source familiar with the intelligence told Fox News that Grenell is moving to declassify several pieces of intelligence in stages, with this being one part of it.
The Wall Street Journal cited a senior government official who called Grenell’s move unprecedented, as it came just days after the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn.
Barr said last week that he had received new information about the FBI’s conduct in the Flynn investigation which showed that the agency “did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition.”
Officials in the Obama administration have acknowledged that they unmasked some Americans in intelligence reports, but insisted that their reasons were legitimate.