The Washington Post confirms today what we have been saying for almost two years.
Michael Flynn’s name was never masked in the FBI intercept of his call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Here’s the part that matters:
WaPo […] in the FBI report about the communications between the two men, Flynn’s name was never redacted, former U.S. officials said.
[…] It was the FBI, not the NSA, that wiretapped Kislyak’s calls and created the summary and transcript, the former officials said.
“When the FBI circulated [tech cuts], they included Flynn’s name from the beginning” because it was essential to understanding its significance, said a former senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive intelligence. “There were therefore no requests for the unmasking of that information.” (read more)
The FBI was conducting (FISA) surveillance on Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. When Kislyak contacted Flynn the call was intercepted by the FBI. The calls were then transcribed and “tech cuts” created.
On January 3rd Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were text messaging about the intercept. It is important to note these text messages have never been released; and were intentionally removed and hidden from the text messages that were released.
We only know about these specific texts from a Senate oversight committee paper that put a timeline together.
This January 3rd communication is critical so I’m going to explain it. You will see why the FBI and DOJ and Intelligence Community have kept it hidden:
A FISA order, in this case on Sergey Kislyak, is referred to as “technical coverage” or a “tech”. The FBI interceptors, staff doing the interception, then type up summaries of telephone conversations captured. Those are referred to as “tech cuts” or “cuts”.
The “CR cut” in the text message above is a “Crossfire Razor cut”, or a Flynn cut.
This is a summary of the call intercept. This is the non-traditional intelligence document that FBI Director James Comey gave to DNI James Clapper to use for the briefing of President Obama on January 4th. There are no redacted or masked names because it is a raw intelligence document.
The Clapper briefing officially informed the White House of the existence of an open FBI investigation into Michael Flynn. That briefing led to the January 5th “pull aside” meeting outlined in the Susan Rice memo.
The FBI was investigating Flynn and monitoring Russian communications to see a reaction to the sanctions imposed on December 29, 2016. When Kislyak called Flynn the FBI legally intercepted the call because the FISA authority was surveillance on Kislyak and Flynn was also under investigation.
But there are more implications…
Peter Strzok texts: “[Bill Priestap], like us, is concerned with over sharing. Doesn’t want Clapper giving [the Flynn cut, or summary of intercepted call] to White House.” All political, just shows our hand and potentially makes enemies.
Lisa Page responds: “Yeah but keep in mind we were going to put that in the doc on Friday, with potentially larger distribution than just DNI.”
Strzok Replies: “The question is should we, particularly to the entirely of the lame duck U.S. Intelligence Community with partisan axes to grind.”
The implication of the Lisa Page response about sharing the Flynn intercept, is the intention of the FBI to include the “CR cut”, the FBI summary intercept of the Kislyak call, within the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) which was being released on Friday. The filter of their entire conversation was political.
We don’t know if the Kislyak-Flynn call was used as a part of the classified evidence within the ICA. It sounds from Lisa Page’s text response that the issue was discussed and then a decision made not to include it: “we were going to put that in”, implies they did not.
Bill Priestap and Peter Strzok have issues with the raw “tech cut” of the intercept being shared with DNI Clapper and White House. Lisa Page downplays those concerns by saying: ‘hey relax, in context we were about to put that readout in the ICA which is a far bigger deal than just sharing it with the White House.’
Putting it all together. The FBI intercepted the call. A “tech cut” summary of the call was generated exclusive to the FBI. James Comey gave that call summary including Flynn’s name to James Clapper; and James Clapper briefed President Obama.
Michael Flynn wasn’t unmasked in documents related to the call because Flynn’s name was never masked in the documents, the FBI “CR cut”.
If I put all the transcripts and texts together, it’s easy to see the picture: