Acting Director of National Intelligence Grenell decided to wage a war against the former Obama administration for being concerned about why Michel Flynn was talking to Russia about sanctions when neither he nor President Donald Trump were sworn into office yet.
As MMFA researcher Matthew Gertz noted, Grenell pulled call data from a series of days ahead of the call between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Gertz asked why Grenell would be so curious about days prior to Flynn’s call.
“Which mainly makes me curious what happened Dec. 14-16 that raised so many alarms at Treasury/NATO/etc,” he tweeted.
Grenell put out a much longer list of names by using a date range that precedes the Flynn-Kisluk call, which mainly makes me curious what happened Dec. 14-16 that raised so many alarms at Treasury/NATO/etc. https://t.co/2FutYwr1Uc
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) May 13, 2020
But it was CNN’s counterintelligence expert Asha Rangappa who explained that no one knew it was Flynn. Which is why the unmasking had to happen in the report. No one could politically target someone when they didn’t know it was him to begin with. Meanwhile, if the GOP thinks Flynn’s job made the call acceptable then his identity was important enough for the unmasking.
“Identities are masked when a US person who is NOT the target of the surveillance is captured on the communication — this is an ‘incidental communication,'” she explained. “They are unmasked when the identity is necessary to understand the intelligence. All legal, no warrant required. In requesting an identity be ‘unmasked,’ you by definition don’t know who it is so you can’t be politically targeting a specific individual. And if the claim is that Flynn’s role in the transition made his actions ‘legal,’ you are conceding that his identity is relevant.”
In requesting an identity be "unmasked," you by definition don't know who it is so you can't be politically targeting a specific individual. And if the claim is that Flynn's role in the transition made his actions "legal," you are conceding that his identity is relevant.
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) May 13, 2020