Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell and Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday asking for additional records on whether Obama administration officials unmasked additional associates of the 2016 Trump campaign after it was revealed last week that numerous top Obama officials unmasked then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Graham requested a list of any Obama-era officials who unmasked identities of people associated with the Trump campaign between November 8, 2016, and January 31, 2017. Graham specifically asked if the following individuals were unmasked: Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, Chris Christie, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
Graham also requested that official reasons be given for any request that was made to unmask anyone who was associated with the campaign.
Graham also wanted an explanation as to why the list that was released last week that showed that Obama officials unmasked Flynn did not include a record “showing who unmasked General Flynn’s identity for his phone call with Ambassdor Kislyak.”
Graham’s letter stated:
As you are aware, on May 13, 2020, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a list of the identity of any official who submitted a request to the National Security Agency at any point between November 8, 2016, and January 31, 2017, to unmask the identity of former National Security Adviser, Lieutenant Michael T. Flynn (Ret.). That list contained the identities of 39 officials who made requests to unmask General Flynn’s identity.
Given the extensive number of requests for the unmasking of General Flynn’s name during this short time period, it raises the question of whether these or other officials sought the unmasking of the identities of other individuals associated with the Trump campaign or transition team. Accordingly, I request that the Committee be provided with a list of the names of any officials who requested, between November 8, 2016, and January 31, 2017, to unmask the identities of those associated with the Trump campaign or transition team, including but not limited to Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, Chris Christie, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos, and the reason given for any such request. In addition, I request an explanation as to why the list released on May 13th did not contain a record showing who unmasked General Flynn’s identity for his phone call with Ambassador Kislyak.
Graham’s letter comes at the same time that Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley wrote a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell asking for the declassification of “additional information related to the unmasking of Americans around the time of the 2016 election, but also to expand the scope of our request to include information as early as January 2016.”
“Based on our investigation and recent press reports, we are increasingly concerned that the surveillance of U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump campaign began earlier than the opening of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation in late July 2016,” the letter continued. “It has become evident that the FBI, and possibly members of the U.S. Intelligence Community, were focused on U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump campaign in early 2016, if not even earlier.”
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