Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell is doing his part to create an “Obamagate,” and has reportedly taken a key step towards building out a cast of characters for the fabricated scandal.
The “unmasking” revealed the then-National Security Adviser internally as the subject of intelligence reports compiled during and after the 2016 presidential election.
Intelligence reports that feature U.S. citizens typically keep the identities of those Americans secret. Government officials can request that those identities be released.
Grenell may release the names of the individuals behind the unmasking, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Grenell’s decision to declassify the names of officials who sought to learn Flynn’s identity comes after the Justice Department dropped charges against Flynn, making an about-face turn in the matter to protect an associate of the President’s.
Flynn lied to FBI investigators in January 2017 about phone calls he had with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.
The move comes after President Trump tried to draw attention on Monday to “Obamagate,” accusing President Barack Obama of committing a crime. When asked to specify what the crime was, Trump replied: “You know what it is.”
But Grenell’s decision to declassify and potentially release the names of Obama officials suggests that the Trump administration may treat intelligence gathered by the federal government — and its own powers to reveal portions of the picture — as fair game in the election year.
Grenell was nominated on an acting basis in February. Trump has nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to replace him.