Thursday, 14 May 2020

Senator Breaks Down Why The Obama Administration’s Unmasking Scandal Is A Big Deal

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) explained during a Wednesday night interview on Fox News why the latest “unmasking” revelation in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn is a serious scandal for the Obama administration.
“Well, in a FISA court surveillance operation, the U.S. government can only surveil foreign people associated with terrorists,” Johnson began. “When they’re monitoring their phone calls, they will sometimes inadvertently pick up the conversation with somebody talking to an American citizen.”
“When those transcripts are released, the identity of the American citizen is masked,” Johnson said. “And so there’s a very limited number of people in the administration that can request that those American citizens’ names be unmasked, because, again, those shouldn’t – American citizens should not be captured in these foreign surveillance investigations.”
“And it is, from my standpoint, pretty curious that the Vice President of the United States would be requesting unmasking in this case of General Flynn eight days before he left office,” Johnson continued. “This is outrageous, what the Obama administration and members of it high up in the administration were doing toward – during the election toward the tail end of their administration, and the ones that were held over, what they did in the early days of the Trump administration as well.”
WATCH:
Sen Ron Johnson shines a big ole spotlight on the unmasking scandal. This is a great breakdown.

Some questions needing answers: What is Joe Biden hiding? What did he know?
24 people are talking about this
TRANSCRIPT:

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: One of the senators who pushed hard for the disclosure of Michael Flynn’s — the names of the unmaskers is Homeland Security and Government — Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
We want to talk about that. He joins us now.
Senator, thanks for being here.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Hello, Bret.
BAIER: I want to start at the beginning.
For somebody sitting at home saying, why is this important, let’s start with, what is unmasking? Explain it.
JOHNSON: Well, in a FISA court surveillance operation, the U.S. government can only surveil foreign people associated with terrorists.
When they’re monitoring their phone calls, they will sometimes inadvertently pick up the conversation with somebody talking to an American citizen.
When those transcripts are released, the identity of the American citizen is masked. And so there’s a very limited number of people in the administration that can request that those American citizens’ names be unmasked, because, again, those shouldn’t — American citizens should not be captured in these foreign surveillance investigations.
BAIER: Right.
So, the ones — the administration officials who are asking, it’s not uncommon for intelligence officials to be in that list, because they want to see where the intel is and who they’re talking to. It’s a little bit more uncommon for administration officials up the chain, for example, Vice President Biden, to be on that list.
But they wouldn’t know who the American was before they requested the unmasking, would they?
JOHNSON: Again, those are some of the questions that need to be answered.
And it is, from my standpoint, pretty curious that the vice president of the United States would be requesting unmasking in this case of General Flynn eight days before he left office.
So, what I would say, what information that we released — and let me also point out, Bret, that Attorney General Barr and acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, they are heroes, they are patriots.
They’re being unfairly attacked right now, mercilessly attacked. And these gentlemen realize that this is a threat to our democracy. This is outrageous, what the Obama administration and members of it high up in the administration were doing toward — during the election toward the tail end of their administration, and the ones that were held over, what they did in the early days of the Trump administration as well.
So, these are real heroes in terms of what information they are beginning to divulge, declassify, so the American people really understand what happened.
BAIER: Senator, within the past few minutes, the Biden campaign has responded to all of this.
The common line from Democrats had been that this is all a distraction by the president to take away from COVID-19 coverage. I will get past that in this statement.
But this says that: “The documents simply indicate the breadth and depth of concern across the American government, including among career officials, over intelligence reports of Michael Flynn’s attempts to undermine ongoing American national security policy through discussions with Russian officials or other foreign representatives.
“Importantly, none of these individuals could have known Flynn’s identity beforehand. These documents have absolutely nothing to do with the — any FBI investigation, and they confirm that all normal procedures were followed. Any suggestion otherwise is flat-out a lie.”
They go on to suggest that the only people with questions to answer are you and Ric Grenell and Senator Grassley for politicizing this intelligence process.
So, your response to all of that?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I thought it was interesting the vice president used the word diversion.
Ever since I have been highlighting the texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on December 15 of 2016, where Strzok texts Page, saying that, I think our sisters are leaking like mad, scorned, worried and political. They’re kicking into overdrive.
What were they worried about? Obviously, they were highly political individuals, people like Brennan and Clapper and Comey.
So, I have always felt that what we witnessed with the whole Russia investigation, the hoax, the fact that the FBI knew full well by the end of January that there was nothing there, and yet James Comey set up the appointment of a special counsel, I have always thought that was a massive diversionary operation on the part of members of the Obama administration to really divert attention away from what they were doing during the campaign, the exoneration of Hillary Clinton.
Now, again, we are starting to see that, and with the revelation of the House Intelligence Committee transcripts, the fact that the — and, by the way, I also got to credit my staff members who painstakingly went down into the Senate secure area, painstakingly went through the FISA report, found those footnotes that showed that, if there’s any disinformation, Russian disinformation in the 2016 campaign, it was paid for by Hillary Clinton.
And they found those footnotes. So they called me down there. I saw that those things needed to be made public. And that really is what broke this information logjam.
Again, credit to Attorney General Barr and Ric Grenell for declassifying those footnotes, declassifying the House Intelligence transcripts, and now declassifying the members of the Obama administration that unmasked.
In this case, all we’re talking about is Michael Flynn.
BAIER: Yes.
JOHNSON: There were many, many other unmaskings which we also need to investigate.
BAIER: Well, we will follow all of it, and anxiously as well. We have got a lot of things to cover here.
Thank you, Senator, for the time.
JOHNSON: Have a good day.

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