Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) on Wednesday invited acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell to testify regarding the “unmasking” of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“Yesterday I wrote to DNI Richard Grenell requesting the names of those who were involved in Gen Flynn’s unmasking,” Paul wrote on Twitter. “Today I received the shocking reply that Joe Biden and many others knew! What did President Obama know? I am inviting DNI Grenell to testify next week in the Senate.”
While Grenell had declassified a list of officials suspected of unmasking Flynn, the Justice Department on Tuesday said it did not plan to release the list. On Wednesday Grenell sent the list to Senators Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa). The list of officials includes former vice president Biden as well as former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, former CIA director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey, and former director of national intelligence James Clapper.
A select number of officials may request to “unmask” the communications of American citizens picked up in national-security surveillance. It is illegal to use that information for political gain or to leak it to the press.
Flynn was initially suspected of illicit ties to Russian officials, and pleaded in 2017 guilty to one count of lying to FBI agents. However, Flynn rescinded his guilty plea in January 2020, and last week the Justice Department dropped the case against Flynn.
Attorney General William Barr explained that he had concluded that FBI agents set a “perjury trap” for Flynn.