After Acting DNI Richard “Ric” Grenell delivered a volume of declassified intelligence records to Attorney General Bill Barr it was reported that Grenell delivered a file showing the intelligence unmaskers from the Obama administration; pending Barr release.
Today ABC is reporting from senior DOJ officials “”we do not intend to release the [unmasking] list” that Grenell brought over to the building last week.”
Considering the content of the files likely delivered to AG Barr it is worth remaining patient. No-one is more cynical than me about DOJ hiding stuff; but this ain’t that.
The declassified documents are not a DOJ equity, they are a DNI equity, the DNI can release them. For the DOJ the declassified documents are evidence.
Kevin Corke and Adam Housley are both reporting the documents delivered by Grenell extend beyond unmasking; their reporting makes sense. The bigger topic is political surveillance. The surveillance encompassed numerous intelligence equities.
CIA reports would lead to (702) unmasking requests. FBI investigative reports on counterintelligence would lead to unmasking requests; and may also include (702) unmasking requests. FBI (or DOJ) investigative searches of the NSA database could lead to (702) unmasking requests; and would also lead to audit logs and audit trails of non-minimized extractions if 702 was not applicable (domestic surveillance).
There is a myriad of different intelligence audit trails depending on the agency and type of documentary evidence being reviewed: unmasking (reports), audit logs (search queries), minimizations (database extractions) etc. It’s not only “unmasking.”
Additionally, remember former NSA Director ADM Mike Rogers said the NSA purged the non-compliant search results (erased them) but retained the audit logs showing who did what, how much, on whom, and when. So those audit logs could be part of the declassified delivery to AG Bill Barr. All of that makes sense and all of it needs to be kept in perspective.
On the recipient side (Bill Barr) of the declassified material the intelligence documents provide a basis for the DOJ to ask the “unmaskers” or “search query operators” or “intelligence officials” why the subjects within the investigative reports (searches etc) were being unmasked or non-minimized…. and who did they give the information to?
Who requested the unmasking (or minimization removal)? Who did the unmasking? Who received the unmasked materials?… and Why?
The primary who and when is identified within the declassified documents delivered by Grenell. The downstream ‘who’ also saw them, and ‘why’ was the request made, can only be discovered by asking the primary person who received the unmasked (non-minimized) result.
We want to know who the unmaskers were. However, Barr/Durham also likely want to know why and what was the purpose? Those questions can only be answered by going directly to the person who made the request and received the end product. So a little patience is afforded here as those questions are likely being asked.
What we do know is that a seemingly trustworthy DNI Ric Grenell has assembled, declassified and seen all of this information… so there’s reason for some confidence it will not be buried like the James Wolfe stuff. Plus, the assembly is public now (I don’t think that’s coincidental).
Additionally, those people who were unmasked (investigative reports) or non-minimized (investigative search queries) are also potential victims; so there’s some privacy elements that overlay the material declassified by Grenell. After all, just because someone came into contact with Lt. General Michael Flynn, and ended up in some intelligence report, doesn’t make them a subject of the investigation. So a little caution is prudent.
DNI Ric Grenell has provided the information; we know it exists and the DOJ knows we know it exists… so let’s wait and see what happens next. If you have been following along with the deep dive research, these tweets from Adam Housley make sense: