Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Flynn Was Not Unmasked - He Was The Target Of The Investigation

Dailymail |  President Trump's acting chief of national intelligence has declassified a list of former Obama administration officials said to be involved in the 'unmasking' of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Richard Grenell, the acting Director of National Intelligence, paid a visit to the Justice Department headquarters last week in Washington, DC, and brought a list of former Obama aides with him, ABC News is reporting. They remain a secret from the general public. 

'Unmasking' is the procedure to name - to those with high-level security clearances  -an American citizen whose name appears in intelligence gathering such as eavesdropping or wiretaps that are initially aimed at suspected foreign agents.

U.S. citizens' names are obscured in such intelligence gathering, unless there is specific permission from the FISA court to eavesdrop on them over concerns they are working for or influenced by foreign intelligence agencies.

Supporters of Trump allege that members of the Obama administration improperly sought to investigate Flynn over contacts he had with the ambassador to Russia, Sergei Kislyak, during the transition to the Trump administration.

The FBI and then the Mueller probe focused on Flynn telling Kislyak that sanctions put in place on Russia at the end of December 2016 by Obama would be reviewed - which he then denied telling Kislyak to both Mike Pence and then the FBI. 

It is alleged that Flynn's identity was unmasked during the course of the federal investigation into contacts held between Russian figures and the Trump presidential campaign.

Flynn's calls with Kislyak were routinely intercepted because all the diplomat's communications were the subject of eavesdropping.

Flynn's name would have been redacted in intelligence reports but some top officials were then able to ask for the name to be 'unmasked.'

The heads of all intelligence agencies and members of the national security council have such power - as does the president.

Under the Obama administration, membership of the national security council included Joe Biden, as vice president, Susan Rice, the national security adviser, Ash Carter, the defense secretary, Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary, Jacob Lew, the Treasury secretary, and Samantha Power, the ambassador to the United Nations.

All were legally empowered to ask for unmasking but leaking an unmasked identity would be a felony.