Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell responded to a congressional request Wednesday by submitting a declassified list of Obama administration officials who had requested names be “unmasked” from Nov. 8, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017.
Among those “unmasked”: incoming National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.).
And among those doing the “unmasking”: then-Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the presidency in 2020.
Flynn, who was then the incoming National Security Advisor, spoke several times to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The calls were picked up by U.S. intelligence, and Flynn’s name was leaked — illegally — to the media.
David Ignatius, a columnist for the Washington Post, reported Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak on Jan. 12. But reporter Adam Entous may have had the information first.
One call in particular — on Dec. 29, 2016 — attracted particular attention, because Flynn discussed the Obama administration’s new sanctions imposed that day on Russia for election interference. Flynn told Kislyak that Russia should not “escalate” in response, according to the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Flynn was later prosecuted for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak, though it is not clear what he told them.
On Tuesday, following reports that Grenell had declassified the list, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) wrote to Grenell asking for the list. On Wednesday, CBS News’ Catherine Herridge obtained a copy of Grenell’s response.
Grenell noted that the list was of those “who may have received Lt. Gen. Flynn’s identity,” though they may not have specifically requested Flynn’s name, and it could not be confirmed whether they had actually seen Flynn’s name.
Herridge tweeted images of the list — and former Vice President Joe Biden’s name was on it, having asked for Flynn’s name to be “unmasked” on Jan. 12, 2017 — the same day that Ignatius’s column ran in the Post.
The tweets and list follow:
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 13, 2020
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 13, 2020
- U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samatha Power
- Director for National Intelligence James Clapper
- Deputy Chief of Mission to Italy and Republic of San Marino Kelly Degnan (now Ambassador to Georgia)
- U.S. Ambassador to Italy and the Republic of San Marino, John R. Phillips
- CIA director John Brennan
- U.S. Treasury Office of Intelligence and Analysis Patrick Conlon
- Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew
- Acting Assistant Treasury Secretary Arthur “Danny” McGlynn
- Acting Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mike Neufeld
- Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Sarah Raskin
- Under Secretary Treasury Nathan Sheets
- Acting Under Secretary Treasury Adam Szubin
- U.S. NATO Advisor Robert Bell
- U.S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee Vice Admiral John Christenson
- FBI Director James Comey
- U.S. NATO Office of the Defense Advisor Policy Advisor for Russia Lt. Col. Paul Geehreng
- U.S. NATO Defense Advisor James Hursh
- U.S. Deptuy Chief of Mission to NATO Lee Litzenberger (now Ambassador to Azerbaijan)
- U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Douglas Lute
- U.S. NATO Political Office Scott Parrish
- Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
- U.S. NATO Political Advisor Tamir Waser
- U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft
- U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass
- White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
- Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration Michael Dempsey
- Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stephanie O’Sullivan
- Vice President Joe Biden
The names are presented in chronological order of their requests. Several of the names on the list are redacted.
Those who requested “unmasking” on or after Dec. 29, 2016 include: Power, Clapper, Lew, McDonough, Dempsey, O’Sullivan, Biden, and an unnamed person.
McDonough is the only person who made an unmasking request between Dec. 29, 2017 and Jan. 5, 2017.
That was the date of a key Oval Office meeting at which President Barack Obama met with several senior officials and informed Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations.
At that meeting, the president also discussed Comey’s plan to approach President-elect Donald Trump to inform him about salacious (and unverified) information from the “Steele dossier” at Trump Tower the next day, Jan. 6.
On Tuesday, in an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, Biden, who had been at the Jan. 5 meeting, initially denied knowing about the plan to investigate Flynn, then admitted that he had known that “they had asked for an investigation.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.