Obama administration officials were so concerned about the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election that they created a list of document serial numbers to give to senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, NBC News reported Friday.
The network cited an unnamed Obama administration official who said that the list was created in early January. That would have been around the same time the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a partially declassified report from the intelligence community asserting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered an influence operation to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
NBC News reported that its source said the purpose of the list of serial numbers was to make it “harder to bury” the information, and to “to share it with those on the Hill who could lawfully see the documents,” instead of that information staying within the intelligence community.
On March 1, the New York Times reported that White House officials, in the waning days of the Obama administration, “scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russian,” to ensure that the information would not be lost in the Trump administration.
The next day, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia Evelyn Farkas (she served until 2015) said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.”
That claim has now turned Farkas into somewhat of a target for those eager to pin responsibility on the Obama administration for the surprising volume and pace of leaks about the investigations into possible connections between Trump affiliates and Russia.