Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Wednesday made public a list of individuals who sought to “unmask” Michael Flynn during the 2016-2017 presidential transition period.
Unmasking requests are submitted by officials seeking to receive the identity of a US citizen mentioned in a classified foreign intelligence report. In this case, the anonymous person was General Michael Flynn, then-National Security Adviser to President Trump.
The declassified documents do not confirm with whom Mr. Flynn spoke, but earlier documents confirm that his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were wiretapped to facilitate an interview during which FBI agents attempted to get Flynn to lie (read more about that here).
The individuals who sought Flynn’s identity include then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-UN Ambassador Samantha Power, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
While it is not uncommon for officials to request the unmasking of Americans caught up in intelligence reports, it is illegal to use the unmasking process for political purposes as was obviously the case with Flynn.
“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,” wrote Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
The Department of Justice actually dropped its criminal case against Flynn last week even though he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. This suggests the case wasn’t serious and that it may have been orchestrated by the Obama Administration to further the Russia collusion narrative.
Biden’s inclusion in the list means that he utilized government resources to attack a political foe. Biden is now facing that same political foe – Donald Trump – in a presidential election.
“This is Vice President Biden using the spying powers of the United States to go after a political opponent. He’s caught red-handed here,” argues Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). “That to me is alarming.”
And the icing on the cake: one day before Grenell released the list of names, Biden told reporters he “knew nothing” about the efforts to investigate Mr. Flynn.
“Joe Biden’s limp claim that he doesn’t know anything about the railroading of General Michael Flynn just got even more unbelievable,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. “We already knew Biden was briefed on the Flynn case before President Trump took office and now we know that he wanted Flynn unmasked…Americans have a right to know the depth of Biden’s involvement in the setup of General Flynn to further the Russia collusion hoax,” he added.
Democrats insist there is no way Biden or anyone else could have known Flynn’s identity when they sought to unmask him (his name was probably leaked) and claim that all normal procedures were followed during the unmasking.
Editor’s note: As one commentator noted, for the last three centuries we have had a peaceful transition from one administration to the next. This is the first time an outgoing administration has purposely sabotaged an incoming president and his team. Many people need to go to jail.