Donald Trump claims Joe Biden was a 'big unmasker' as Obama's VP revealed to have had Mike Flynn's name unmasked - then tears into 'sleazebags' and claims 'this was all Biden, we caught them'

Former Vice President Joe Biden was identified Wednesday as being among a group of Obama administration officials who 'unmasked' the name of Mike Flynn in U.S. intelligence reports.
A National Security Agency document signed by Director General Paul Nakasone lists Biden as among those who requested and may have received information on Flynn in the final days of the Obama administration or were otherwise involved in his unmasking.
The leaked memo immediately set off a clash in Washington, with President Donald Trump tearing into Biden, his presumed 2020 opponent, for unmasking, which he connected to the prosecution of Flynn, which he termed a disgrace.
'When I see what is happening to him, it's disgraceful,' Trump said of Flynn. 'And it was all a ruse. And by the way the FBI said he didn't lie,' Trump said at the White House Wednesday.
'With all the stuff I'm hearing about lying. The FBI said he didn't lie. But the sleazebag said, "Well we don't care what they say, we're saying he lied,' Trump continued. 
'What they’ve done to that man and that family is a disgrace,' Trump said as he addressed reporters about the coronavirus.
'I just left Gen. Milley and he said was a great man and a great soldier,' the president said, conveying words that had the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mark Milley, vouching for Flynn, a former three star general who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency before getting fired by President Obama. 
'It's a massive thing. Who can believe a thing like this,' said Trump, holding a up a notecard he indicated was a list of the information. 
During separate comments on Fox Business Network, Trump told host Maria Bartiromo it was 'all Biden,' and casting Biden as a key player in Flynn's prosecution – although it was carried out by career prosecutors after the election and resulted in a guilty plea by Flynn.
'They weren't after General Flynn, they wanted him to lie about me, make up a story. And with few exceptions, nobody did that,' Trump told Bartiromo. 'There were many people, I watched [former national security official] KT McFarland the other day, I watched where she was, knock knock FBI, you know, the FBI, this was all Obama, this was all Biden,' Trump said. 
Lashing out: In an interview with Fox Business Network airing in full Thursday, Trump attacked Biden and claimed 'we caught them'
Lashing out: In an interview with Fox Business Network airing in full Thursday, Trump attacked Biden and claimed 'we caught them'
More anger: At a meeting with governors including Colorado's Jared Polis in the White House Cabinet Room, Trump lashed out at Biden as a 'big unmasker'
More anger: At a meeting with governors including Colorado's Jared Polis in the White House Cabinet Room, Trump lashed out at Biden as a 'big unmasker'
A National Security Agency document identifies Joe Biden as among a group of officials who may have received information on 'unmasking' of Mike Flynn in the final days of the Obama administration.
A National Security Agency document identifies Joe Biden as among a group of officials who may have received information on 'unmasking' of Mike Flynn in the final days of the Obama administration.
McFarland had previously told Fox she was 'ambushed' as part of a 'setup' by the FBI. 
'These people were corrupt, the whole thing was corrupt, and we caught them, we caught them. And what you saw just now, I watched Biden yesterday he could barely speak, he was on Good Morning America right? He said he didn't know anything about it, and now it just gets released right after he said that. It gets released that he was one of the unmaskers. Meaning he knew everything about it, so he lied to your friend George Stephanopoulos.” 
McFarland, the former deputy national  told a senator during he confirmation process to an NSC post she was unaware of Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador. But she was revealed to have written an email that said 'General Flynn is talking to the Russian ambassador this evening' on December 29, when President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia.
The new unmasking document appears to reveal which official or officials ordered Flynn's name be 'unmasked' from intelligence reports, although it also includes hedging language. U.S. citizens have their names blacked out in such reports, although certain officials have the authority to unseal the information.
Trump pointed to Sunday comments by Biden that he didn't know details of the Flynn prosecution. 'He said he knows nothing about anything,' Trump said. 'And then it gets released today that he's the big unmasker.' 
In Biden's case, he gained access to the documents on January 12, 2016 – a little over a week before he left office.
He is listed among a group of 'recipients who may have received Lt. Gen. Flynn's identity in response to a request processed between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017' to unmask an identity to unmask a name in an NSA intelligence report. 
But the memo also refers to Biden as among a group of 'principals' – although it still stops short of confirming he ever saw the information.  
'While the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm they saw the unmasked information. This response does not include any requests outside of the specified time-frame,' according to the memo.
Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. got picked up by U.S. intelligence
Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. got picked up by U.S. intelligence
A newly declassified memo lists officials who submitted requests to the NSA to unmask Gen. Mike Flynn in intelligence documents
A newly declassified memo lists officials who submitted requests to the NSA to unmask Gen. Mike Flynn in intelligence documents
It listed those who 'may have received' Flynn's identity
It listed those who 'may have received' Flynn's identity
Biden's name appears last on the chronological list
Biden's name appears last on the chronological list
Grenell declassified the document last week and provided it to a pair of Republican senators for their 'situation awareness'
Grenell declassified the document last week and provided it to a pair of Republican senators for their 'situation awareness'
Flynn's calls with former Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak got picked up by U.S. intelligence intercepts during the transition, and became part of the Russia probe.
Flynn would later plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his undisclosed Russia contacts – although the Justice Department last week took the extraordinary move of seeking to drop the case. A federal judge is awaiting 'friend of the court' documents relating to the controversial case. 
Trump's outbirst came amid another signal Wednesday that Flynn's case was far from over. Judge Emmet Sullivan has appointed an outside retired judge, John Gleeson, to provide arguments against the government's latest position dropping the charges against Flynn. Gleeson will also be charged with exploring whether Flynn should face perjury charges – a felony. 
Trump said he wouldn't discuss a potential pardon for Flynn. 'I won’t talk about that but he’s going to be okay,' Trump told reporters. 
Under unmasking – which became a heated topic during the House Intelligence Committee's own Russia probe – the process begins when government officials are provided access to documents with classified information blacked out.
Certain senior government officials are granted the authority to seek 'unmasking' of individuals whose names are blacked out. Names are obscured to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens. To do so, they must put in a request to the classifying authority – in this case, the National Security Agency, which picks up information through a wide net of electronic surveillance. 
Such requests are relatively routine – and are meant to provide a fuller understanding of the document at hand. However at the time of seeking an unmasking, the U.S. official does not know the identity of the 'masked' person. 
If the request clears the agency's review process and is justified, the requesting official is provided access to the information. The government records who makes such requests and when, providing the opportunity to look back after the fact. 
'Each individual was an authorized recipient of the original report and the unmasking was approved through NSA's standard process, which includes a review of the justification for the request,' the document said, indicating the spy agency signed off on the disclosures after a review.
The memo was ordered declassified by acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell. 
Grenell provided the information to Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley and Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for what he wrote was their 'situational awareness.'  He says he issued the order May 8 of this year. Trump named Grenell to his post in February.
The letter to the senators was dated May 13, the same day it was released. 
According to intelligence community reporting required by the surveillance reauthorization laws, the NSA unmasked 10,012 U.S. persons in the 2019 calendar year.
In 2017, the year Flynn was unmasked, he was one of 9,529 U.S. persons who were unmasked. 
According to the DNI report, after an intelligence report is distributed containing masking, 'other federal agencies may request that the masked information in the report be revealed or “unmasked.”'
It continues: 'The requested identity information is released only if the requesting recipient has a “need to know” the identity of the U.S. person and if the dissemination of the U.S. person’s identity would be consistent with the applicable legal authorities.'

Former FBI Director James Comey is among those officials named on the unmasking document. FBI agents were investigating Flynn
Former FBI Director James Comey is among those officials named on the unmasking document. FBI agents were investigating Flynn
Former Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough is listed as making a January 5, 2017 unmasking request about Flynn
Former Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough is listed as making a January 5, 2017 unmasking request about Flynn
'I knew nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,' Biden said when asked about Flynn's prosecution on ABC's 'This Week' Sunday. 
'This is all about diverting attention from the horrible way in which he has acted,' Biden said of President Trump. 'We don't have coronavirus because of him, but we have the devastating impact of it because of his lack of a policy, because of his lack of action. It's all about diversion.'
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement: 'Donald Trump’s attempt at dishonest media manipulation to distract from his response to the worst public health crisis in 100 years has backfired. These 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.'
Bates continued: 'Importantly, none of these individuals could have known Flynn’s identity beforehand. These documents have absolutely nothing to do with any FBI investigation and they confirm that all normal procedures were followed – any suggestion otherwise is a flat out lie. What’s more, it’s telling that these documents were selectively leaked by Republicans abusing their congressional powers to act as arms of the Trump campaign after having them provided by a partisan official installed for this very purpose. The only people with questions to answer are Grenell, Sen. Grassley, and Sen. Johnson for their gross politicization of the intelligence process.'
The memo connects numerous other officials to the unmasking. Former NSC spokesman Ned Price noted it included career CIA station chiefs and chiefs of mission. Others identified by the memo include former FBI Director James Comey, U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, U.S. ambassador to Italy John Phillips, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and U.S. ambassador to Turkey John Bass. 
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Trump ally who sits on a permanent subcommittee on investigations, told Fox News Biden should be forced to answer questions on the unmasking.
'He needs to be questioned on this because we can't elevate someone to the president who is willing to use the intelligence community to spy on his political opponents. That should be a deal-killer.'
'What kind of person eavesdrops,' Paul said. 'Is that something that we think is a legitimate function of government to eavesdrop on your opponents, without a warrant?'
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated he wants to pursue the unmasking issue further.
'I specifically want to know how many unmasking requests were made, if any, beyond General Flynn regarding members of the Trump campaign team, family, or associates,' he said. 
Donald Trump claims Joe Biden was a 'big unmasker' as Obama's VP revealed to have had Mike Flynn's name unmasked - then tears into 'sleazebags' and claims 'this was all Biden, we caught them' Donald Trump claims Joe Biden was a 'big unmasker' as Obama's VP revealed to have had Mike Flynn's name unmasked - then tears into 'sleazebags' and claims 'this was all Biden, we caught them' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:33 Rating: 5

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