Guest post by Larry C. Johnson
The Deep State, in a desperate attempt to try to mitigate the damage from the revelation that 39 different members of the Obama Administration unmasked Michael Flynn’s name in at least 15 separate NSA intelligence reports, turned to Washington Post stenographer, Ellen Nakashima, to insist that Michael Flynn was really not unmasked.
Nakashima is a longstanding go-to-tool for the CIA and FBI coup plotters eager to sow propaganda and disinformation among the American people. It was her June 14, 2016 article that pushed the contrived fantasy that Russia hacked the DNC. Now that we have the testimony of Shawn Henry, President of Crowdstrike, on the record and under oath before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, we know that his company never found any evidence that the DNC emails were exfiltrated by Russians.
Here are some key snippets from Nakashima’s latest propaganda missive:
A Republican effort to determine who may have leaked the name of Michael Flynn in connection to his 2016 contact with the Russian ambassador has centered on the question of which Obama administration officials requested his identity be “unmasked” in intelligence documents.
But in the FBI report about the communications between the two men, Flynn’s name was never redacted, former U.S. officials said. . . .
Unmasking is a routine practice used to identify U.S. individuals who are referred to anonymously in an intelligence document, and it is meant to help government officials better understand what they are reading. But conservatives have long seized on Flynn’s unmasking to imply that he was treated unfairly by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials. . . .
The unmasking issue appears to be part of an effort by the president and his allies to tar former president Barack Obama with what Trump says was an unfounded criminal investigation into potential conspiracy between Russia and Trump associates — or what he now calls “Obamagate.” Obama is expected to be one of the most effective advocates for his former vice president, Joe Biden, in his bid to unseat Trump this fall.
The president’s allies are casting the unmasking requests as evidence of a malign effort to damage Trump through leaks to the media.
Nothing to see here. Move along. This was just routine sedition. Nakashima is lying by insisting that what was done to Michael Flynn was normal and routine. She is pushing the fantasy that the only way the FBI learned about Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador was because the FBI was routinely monitoring Kislyak’s conversations and just happened to capture Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor.
Nakashima’s FBI sources want you to believe that they had a Gomer Pyle moment–Shazam Sgt. Carter, Michael Flynn is talking to a Roosky.
Nakashima does not mention the following indisputable facts:
- The FBI opened a counter intelligence case on General Flynn with no just cause in August 2016 and relentlessly searched FBI, CIA and NSA files for evidence that Flynn was a traitor beholden to Russia.
- The FBI agent leading the effort concluded that there was no evidence to support continuing a counter intelligence case against Flynn and wrote the memo to close the case. The memo is dated January 4, 2017.
- Jim Comey and Andy McCabe were looking for a pretext to keep the case against Flynn open and seized on his December 29, 2016 chat with Ambassador Kislyak.
Nakashima’s FBI sources are not reliable and I do not believe they are telling the truth. They are trying to create an alternative explanation for inexcusable conduct by the FBI.
This new Nakashima account still has some big holes.
For starters, why was the FBI agent in charge of investigating Michael Flynn cut out of this loop? If the FBI agent investigating Michael Flynn as Crossfire Razor was privy to the Flynn call with Ambassador Kislyak, why would he then submit a draft memo to drop the case?
Perhaps he was witting of the call and realized that nothing justifying a counter-intelligence investigation transpired during the call. According to Robert Mueller’s prosecutors, Flynn said the following (see Statement of Offense):
FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.
If the Mueller team is reporting accurately what Flynn said to the Russian, then we are left wondering what the hell was the beef? Asking the Russians to not escalate a situation is in America’s national security interest.
The other thing most folks are ignoring is that it appears the conversation between Michael Flynn, who was in the Dominican Republic, and the Trump Transition team in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. It certainly appears that someone was listening in on this phone call. Here is the account in the Statement of Offense:
FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team (“PTT official”), who was with other senior
·members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.
Some have suggested that the Mueller team learned about the substance of the call on the 28th of December with the transition team from the FBI interview with KT McFarland. She was first interviewed on the 27th of August 2017–eight months after that phone call. And she did not have a clear recollection:
“Throughout the interview, I pointed out that I was working entirely from memory about events that happened months before, when a lot of other things were going on in my life. My recollections were not precise or clear, especially about timing of calls and emails and the topics covered in them. I prefaced most of my responses with those same caveats.”
The specificity in the Statement of Offense about Flynn’s conversation with the President’s Transition Team indicates that a transcript exists. Who recorded that conversation? Under what authority was that conversation recorded.
None of this is being done “BY THE BOOK.” There is no evidence yet that a FISA was in place to permit spying on Michael Flynn. There is no indication in the FBI agent’s memo to close the case to indicate that Flynn had been monitored or had said incriminating things to Russians. Just the opposite–no evidence to justify continuing the investigation of General Flynn.
This was nothing more than a planned hit job. So far the CIA and DNI are being ignored as players in this tawdry episode. But I think Senator Graham understands something is fishy:
he [Graham] sent a letter to acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell asking why a declassified list of Obama administration officials who had made requests that revealed Flynn’s name in intelligence documents “did not contain a record showing who unmasked” Flynn’s identity in relation to “his phone call with” the Russian diplomat, Sergey Kislyak.
Nakashima’s pathetic piece is a great illustration of the delusion and perfidy of those who tried to destroy Donald Trump and his administration. Legitimate actions by acting DNI Grenell or Attorney General Barr are greeted with howls of outrage and indignation. But Nakashima and her crowd are like cockroaches. They run from the light.