A newly released list of declassified names of former Obama officials shows that former Vice President Joe Biden submitted a request to unmask then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn on the same day that The Washington Post revealed Flynn’s identity.
The list showed that Biden requested to “unmask the identity of former National Security Adviser, Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn (USA-Ret)” on January 12, 2017.
That same day, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius published Flynn’s identity, revealing that he was unmasked in response to a phone call that he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29, 2016.
According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The list of names that was declassified and released on Wednesday by two U.S. Senators notes that “while the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm they saw the unmasked information.”
Fox News reported in 2017 that the disclosing of Flynn’s identity to the media could be “a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison” because “rules state that if an American with Constitutional protections is collaterally caught in such surveillance, his or her identity must be protected.”
The list also included ” then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough,” Fox News reported. “The day McDonough requested the information is the same day as an Oval Office meeting that has drawn scrutiny in the wake of the Flynn developments. The meeting included Obama, Biden, Clapper, Brennan, Comey, then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.”
The revelation that Biden requested the unmasking of Flynn appears to contradict statements that he made earlier this week on ABC’s “Good Morning America” when he was asked what he knew about the Obama administration’s moves against Flynn.
“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” Biden claimed. “This is all about diversion. This is the game this guy plays all the time. The country is in crisis. We’re in an economic crisis, we’re in a health crisis. We’re in real trouble. He should stop trying to always divert attention from the real concerns of the American people.”
Biden was then called out by George Stephanopoulos over his suspicious claim as Stephanopoulos noted that Biden was at a meeting with Obama and other top administration officials when they discussed what was going on with Flynn.
Biden then changed his answer, saying “I was aware that there was, that they had asked for an investigation but that’s all I know about it.”
Asked if DOJ was justified in dropping charges against Michael Flynn @JoeBiden tells @GStephanopoulos: "I think there's nothing there…but it's not a surprise that, in fact, the Justice Dept. decided anybody who was an ally of the president didn't do anything wrong ever anyway" pic.twitter.com/eSHX96xScG
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 12, 2020
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