US Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Wednesday released a list of former Obama administration officials accused of “unmasking” former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The list, sent to Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, names a wide array of former officials including former US ambassador to Turkey John Bass and former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee heading into November’s elections.
It comes one day after Grassley and Johnson requested that it be provided to them in a letter to Grenell and Attorney General William Barr. The lawmakers posted a copy of the letter on the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s website.
Johnson chairs the committee.
The “unmasking” requests were made in response to a National Security Agency foreign intelligence report that generically referred to an individual. In an accompanying memo, National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone notes that each of the individuals were authorized to access the report and their requests were approved through the agency’s standard procedures.
National security officials can request that such individuals be “unmasked,” and the process is common.
The list’s release comes as President Donald Trump continues to rail against what he calls “Obamagate,” though he has repeatedly struggled to clearly state what the scandal entails. He has repeatedly sought to frame the Russia investigation that ensnared Flynn as a “deep state” plot against him.
The Justice Department made the exceptionally rare move last week to dismiss the case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators.
Flynn has since sought to withdraw his guilty plea, which he entered in December 2017, and the department said in court documents obtained by Anadolu Agency that it is dropping the case “based on an extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances.”
A federal judge in Washington, DC appointed a retired judge Wednesday to take up the case against the department’s motion.
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