Grenell Responds to Warner’s Request for Underlying Intelligence Reports in Flynn Unmasking

May 26, 2020 Updated: May 26, 2020

Outgoing acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell responded to a request by a top Senate Democrat for the underlying intelligence reports in which former Trump adviser Michael Flynn’s name was unmasked.

On May 20, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member, sent a letter to Grenell requesting that he declassify intelligence reports in which Obama administration officials had unmasked Flynn’s identity and to explain the rationale for declassifying the unmasking requests. Warner also asked Grenell to “declassify and make publicly available any intelligence report concerning conversations” between Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The senator’s request came after the Office of Director of Intelligence (ODNI) released the declassified list of Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of Flynn to Congress. Grenell also declassified an email written by former national security adviser Susan Rice, who memorialized a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting at the White House in which then-FBI Director James Comey expressed concern about the frequency of communications between Flynn and Kislyak.

Grenell said in a letter dated May 25 that he found it “puzzling” that Warner’s letter expressed concerns about the declassification of the Obama administration officials who unmasked Flynn, a retired Army three-star general, but then goes on to request the declassification and release of intelligence reports.

Richard Grenell
Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell at Tegel airport in Berlin, on May 31, 2019. (Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)

“Cherry-picking certain documents for release, while attacking the release of others that don’t fit your political narrative, is part of the problem the American people have with Washington D.C. politicians,” Grenell wrote.

He then asked Warner to explain his “philosophy on transparency,” adding that “it appears to be solely on political advantage.”

In his May 20 letter, Warner raised questions about Grenell’s decision to declassify the information, “given the potential compromise to sources and methods.”

Grenell reassured Warner that “the protection of intelligence sources and methods is always at the fore of any declassification decision.”

“As you well know, the decision to declassify the names of individuals who sought to unmask the identity of General Flynn poses absolutely no risk of compromise of either sources or methods,” he wrote.

The outgoing acting DNI said on May 22 that he was in the process of fully declassifying some of the call transcripts involving Flynn.

“The [intelligence community] doesn’t have all the transcripts/summaries….it wasn’t our product,” Grenell wrote on Twitter. “But I already started the declassification for the few we received. They should be released in full, though. The public deserves to see it.”

Grenell, who served as acting DNI since February, ended his tenure as his successor, John Ratcliffe, was sworn in on May 26. He also confirmed that he will step down from his post as the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Warner’s office didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

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