Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner was quite incensed after Acting DNI Richard Grenell declassified the names of 39 Obama administration officials who unmasked Lt. General Michael Flynn during the 2016-2017 presidential transition period. The names were then provided to Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson and published in the name of transparency.
But instead of asking serious questions about why so many Obama officials were engaged in the unmasking of an incoming Trump administration official, Warner berated Grenell for allegedly compromising sources/methods and then demanded additional intelligence reports be declassified. Grenell issued a response on Monday.
#FLYNN READ: @MarkWarner May 20 letter requested underlying intel reports and “rationale for declassifying these unmasking requests” @RichardGrenell responds “I find it puzzling that your letter initially complains about the declassification of the identities of unmaskers,— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 26, 2020
...a declassification that posed no conceivable risks to sources or methods, only to then request the declassification of actual intelligence reports” #MyHighlighter @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/vWQ89qBW9w— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 26, 2020
"My declassification determination was made in the interests of full transparency and public accountability given serious unanswered questions about the potential misuse of intelligence for partisan purposes following the 2016 election," Grenell wrote. "The protection of intelligence sources is always at the fore of any declassification decision I might make. As you well know, the decision to declassify the names of individuals who sought to unmask the identity of General Flynn poses absolutely no risk of compromise of either sources or methods. Additionally, far from undermining the credibility of the Intelligence Community (IC), the utmost transparency in this matter builds public trust and confidence in the Community and ensures the IC will not conceal potential abuse behind unnecessary security classification."
"I find it puzzling that your letter initially complains about the declassification of the indemnities of unmaskers, a declassification that posed no conceivable riches to sources or methods, only to then request the declassification of actual intelligence reports. Cherry picking certain documents for release, while attacking the release of others that don't fit your political narrative, is part of the problem the American people have with Washington DC politicians. I would appreciate it if you would explain your philosophy on transparency as it appears to be based solely on political advantage," he continued.
Grenell then called out Warner for his ongoing refusal to discuss these matters in person or over the phone.
"I gladly would have discussed this and other intelligence matters with you directly had you not chosen to cancel our planned call and then ignored subsequent requests by my office to reschedule," he said.
Grenell will step down from his position on Tuesday after swearing-in Congressman John Ratcliffe, who was approved for the job by the Senate last week.