The chief of intelligence has declassified the names of Obama officials who have “exposed” Flynn

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The chief of intelligence has declassified the names of Obama officials who have

But it is unclear why the DNI did not publish the list and a senior Justice Department official told CNN that he does not intend to do so. The official said that the DNI has provided information to the department that it will review to the extent that it can assist in ongoing investigations.

The ODNI official declined to say how many people were on the list, but CNN previously reported that there were “multiple requests” for Flynn’s identity to be revealed between the 2016 presidential election and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. .

The disclosure of Flynn’s identity is also among the issues investigated by John Durham, the Connecticut prosecutor Barr has appointed to examine the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.
The Wall Street newspaper and ABC News were the first to report Tuesday’s declassification news, which was also promoted by the president on Tuesday.
“Great news!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, referring to a story on the unmasking list.
While U.S. citizen names are to be kept secret in intelligence reports, senior officials have the option of asking for names to be revealed in certain circumstances to better understand the reports. In the past, some Obama officials have recognized the request to identify people, but have insisted that legitimate reasons exist.
The decision to release the names was made by Grenell, a Trump loyalist, and came a few days after Attorney General William Barr’s controversial decision to file a criminal case against Flynn.

On Thursday, the Justice Department presented a request to a federal judge to close the case against Flynn, whose lies about his contacts with Russia prompted Trump to fire him three years ago. Later Flynn launched Trump, pleaded guilty to lying and helped investigate Russia. But last year he reversed course, started attacking Russia’s investigations and tried to undo his guilty plea.

The court must formally approve the DOJ’s request to close the case.

Tuesday’s news also comes when Trump is facing control on two fronts: Senate testimony from key health officials and coronavirus task force members on White House response efforts and a Supreme Court hearing on the need to allow legislators to access the President’s tax returns.

While the ability to declassify documents of this nature falls fully within the scope of the DNI, there are clear questions about the political motivations behind this specific move by Grenell, whose mandate as a DNI agent seems to be coming to an end pending confirmation of Trump’s choice. permanent for the job, representative John Ratcliffe.

Grenell has taken on an increasingly important role in helping the President to reshape the narrative surrounding the 2016 investigations into Russian efforts to help Trump win the election and possible ties to the President’s campaign.

Together with Barr, Grenell moved to release documents that Justice and DNI’s predecessors had been slow to release.

Many of the documents illustrate the alarm among US national security officials in 2016 about Russian electoral interference and the effort of US officials to understand why the Russians were trying to help Trump’s election and why Trump and associated people to his campaign they seemed to openly and discreetly encourage such help. Some documents also show missteps in those investigative efforts.

With the 2020 elections looming, Trump and allies from Congress and the conservative media highlighted parts of documents to claim that there was a conspiracy of the Obama administration to target Trump and his campaign.

And while Grenell insisted that the declassification is about greater transparency, the material in particular does not include a transcript of Flynn’s calls with former Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, during Trump’s transition in 2017.

Those calls were summarized but included in a central piece of the Mueller investigation.

All in all, the number of exposed Americans has increased in the past three years of the Trump administration. According to ODNI’s statistical transparency reports, 10,012 Americans were killed in 2019 in response to a specific request. Nearly 17,000 Americans were exposed in 2018 and 9,529 in 2017.

Under the Obama administration, 9,217 Americans were exposed in 2016 and only 1,122 in 2015.

Exclusive: Rice explained to House's investigators why he unmasked senior Trump officials
In September 2017, several sources told CNN that Susan Rice, former national security adviser to ex-President Barack Obama, told House investigators that he had unmasked the identities of Trump’s top officials for concerns over the Prince’s property. UAE hereditary Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan visit to the United States in late 2016. During the visit, which took place during the transition period before Trump took office, the crown prince met Flynn, the son-in-law of the president, Jared Kushner, and adviser Steve Bannon in New York, sources said at the time.

The Obama administration felt deceived by the United Arab Emirates, which had not mentioned that Zayed was arriving in the United States, although it is customary for foreign dignitaries to report their trip to the United States government, according to several sources that era knew the question.

Rice told the House Intelligence Committee that he requested that the names of the Americans mentioned in the confidential report be revealed internally.

The meeting preceded a separate effort by the United Arab Emirates to facilitate back-channel communication between Russia and the arrival of the Trump White House.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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