According to heavily redacted documents from the National Security Agency obtained by The Daily Signal, there was a coordinated effort by the outgoing Obama administration to “torpedo the incoming presidency of Donald Trump.”
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Daily Signal acquired 217 pages of documents.
“The documents reveal that Obama administration officials, from Vice President Joe Biden down to several ambassadors and many officials in the Treasury and Energy departments, gained access to secret information about Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Trump’s choice for national security adviser,” the report says. “The documents obtained by The Daily Signal include raw information of requests and other messages from these officials to the National Security Agency in late November 2016 through early January 2017, as well as emails among NSA officials explaining why the information was shared.”
In May 2020, Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence, Rick Grenell, declassified information and shared with Congress a list of names related to the “unmasking” of Michael Flynn — Trump’s original pick for national security adviser. Flynn had previously served under Obama but was fired for not pushing the administration narrative about the dangers posed by al Qaeda.
Three top Obama administration officials who gained access to the Flynn information are now high-ranking officials in the Biden administration.
Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff for his entire second term, is now secretary of veterans affairs under Biden.
Samantha Power, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, made numerous requests for information on Flynn. In the Biden administration, Power is the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
And Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, deputy secretary at Obama’s Energy Department, has been Biden’s homeland security adviser since he took office.
The Flynn-related requests from Obama administration officials were all made during late November and December of 2016.
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Flynn’s “unmasking,” at the behest of Barack Obama’s top advisers ultimately led to Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s national security advisor after just 23 days. This incident also played a crucial role in the investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax during the 2016 presidential election.
The documents obtained by The Daily Signal also show that at least seven U.S. officials working with NATO were provided with information on Flynn, including then-NATO Ambassador Douglas Lute.
John Tefft, then U.S. ambassador to Russia, as well as several members of his staff whose names were redacted, also sought and got information on Flynn.
Obama’s ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, obtained information on Flynn. NSA’s internal emails say the information was provided to Bass so he could “better understand and assess the foreign intelligence information contained therein.”
The NSA email goes on to say: “No further action may be taken on nor dissemination be made of this information [on Flynn] without prior approval of NSA.”
The FBI investigated Trump’s Russian ties and Flynn had done lobbying work for Turkey, which helps explain the involvement of those two ambassadors.
Obama’s ambassador to Italy, John Phillips, also gained access to information about Flynn, as did his top staff.
National security and law enforcement officials in the Obama administration—including FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and National Intelligence Director James Clapper—might be expected to have access.
Flynn was eventually pardoned by Trump.