Joe Biden was among several Obama administration officials who in 2017 sought the unmasking of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in regard to intercepted conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to National Review.
The former vice president was included on a list of names declassified by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell and released by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), as Fox News reported.
Normally, the identities of Americans are protected or “masked” when they are incidentally caught up in the surveillance of foreign actors, Fox noted. If there is a national security interest in doing so, it is permissible for certain categories of government officials to ask for such an individual to be unmasked so that their identity can be known, however.
In the case of Flynn, several laws may have been broken in his unmasking, and of particular concern, according to some legal experts, would be any leak of an unmasked individual’s name to the media, as Fox reports.
Biden on unmasking list
While there is no proof thus far that Biden was the one who leaked this information to the press or that he used it for political gain, someone on the just-released list did indeed provide Flynn’s name to David Ignatius of The Washington Post in January 2017, just as the investigation into his alleged ties to Russia was ongoing, according to NPR.
Only Biden himself can explain why he wanted to know Flynn’s identity and whether obtaining such knowledge constituted a matter of national security. Normally, an FBI or other official would make such a request rather than a top administration official like Biden, according to legal expert Jonathan Turley.
The presence of Biden’s name on the request list does point to a much higher level of involvement of Obama administration officials in the Flynn investigation than had previously been publicly known, however.
Determining the extent of Obama and Biden’s involvement has become more important than ever in recent days since documents came to light showing that the FBI proceeded with the investigation to entrap Flynn in a lie while lacking any evidence that he actually did anything wrong.
Obama legacy in jeopardy
If Obama and Biden were involved in those efforts, it would show corruption in the previous administration at the highest levels. Even if the president and vice president merely knew about the attempt to set up Flynn, but were not actively directing the plot, the implications are troubling, indeed.
Some have speculated that Obama’s recent remarks suggesting that “the rule of law is at risk” due to the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case against Flynn is a manifestation of his own fear that the full scope his administration’s unlawful machinations with regard to the then-incoming Trump administration will soon be revealed.
Also frustrating to many observers is the fact that the judge in the Flynn case, Emmet G. Sullivan, has refused to immediately dismiss the case against the retired lieutenant general and has requested the submission of third party court briefs seemingly to find a reason — any reason — to keep the matter alive.
It appears that Obama and his cronies are desperately circling the wagons to try to protect his presidential legacy from being tarnished. For others, however, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s email server, and the debacle of Obamacare serve as more than enough evidence of what really went on during his tenure.