The NSA list of people asking that a name be unmasked which turned out to be Michael Flynn


By Robert Willmann

Released today is a list from the National Security Agency of officials who asked — between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017 — that a name be unmasked in intercepted communications, and the name turned out to be Gen. Michael Flynn–

Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the Director of the NSA, included the list with a short memo to Richard Grenell, the Acting Director of National Intelligence, who declassified the list and then routed it today to U.S. Senators Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson.

I think the senators should have asked for a wider time frame.


This entry was posted in Current Affairs, government, Intelligence, Justice, Russiagate. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to The NSA list of people asking that a name be unmasked which turned out to be Michael Flynn

  1. Deap says:

    Always knew the Ambassador to San Marino was going to give us trouble. …… what can you say. He was bored? Nothing good on Italian TV so he thought he would just to unmask someone?

  2. Deap says:

    December 16, 2016 and January 17, 2017. Time to go in the Way Back Machine and see what was going on those two very busy days.

  3. Jim says:

    Federal Judge Emmett Sullivan needs “help.”
    His words, not mine.
    Although amica, or amicus briefs can be routine in civil cases, in a criminal case, it is a prosecutor’s duty to decide things as basic as whether to prosecute a case.
    But in the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn matter, Sullivan says he now needs outside help.
    The need, the judge says, came following the DOJ decision to end prosecution of the general, having determined there was no crime; the heretofore prosecution of him was a phantom of the opera.
    Sullivan now wants an encore.
    What might that be?
    Pirates of Penzance?
    Sullivan Flies Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?
    In a recent order the judge said he will invite outside parties — outside of the DOJ — to provide this judge “unique information or perspective that can help the court.”
    The absurdity of Sullivan notwithstanding, it could be: he recognizes he is sitting on a volcano, partly of his own making because of decisions he made; and those of Judge Rudy Contreras, the man who was on the bench when Flynn plead to the false charges, circa Dec. 1, 2017.
    Neither Contreras, nor Flynn’s Covington lawyers, prior this plea, demanded the DOJ produce original FBI 302s — of the Jan. 24, 2017 FBI interview of Flynn — to show the concrete substance, that is, actual evidence, that would purportedly show the general lied.
    The DOJ never produced this. Ever.
    Sullivan, he never asked nor demanded nor got to read those original 302s either, even though he has been sitting on this case since Dec. 7, 2017.
    After a year of sitting on the case, Flynn said he was ready to be sentenced: the prosecutors had said they were fine with no jail time for him.
    During this Dec. 18, 2018 hearing, Sullivan Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
    [If you have not, read transcript of this hearing, it’s at least a half-hour read.]
    Sullivan told Flynn he could face 15 years in jail, implied he committed treason, was a traitor to his country, blah blah blah.
    The prosecutor at the time, Brandon Van Grack, told the Pirate of Penzance that more assistance of Flynn was needed for the bogus Mueller investigation.
    Sullivan [Gilbert was not in the courtroom] then allowed Flynn’s sentencing hearing to be continued, so long as Mueller submitted monthly progress reports to ascertain the general was cooperating with the special counsel office’s “investigation” of nonexistent “crimes” against who knows what at that point.
    To recap: Sullivan threatened Flynn with 15 years in prison; Flynn withdrew his willingness to be sentenced at that time; Van Grack out of nowhere said the general needed to cooperate some more with Mueller.
    Had Sullivan not gone rouge at this hearing; had he demanded and gotten the original 302s, I would give more credence to what I’ll say next.
    The only rational reason, I think, Sullivan said he needs “help” — before consummating the DOJ’s request to end this matter – is simple.
    Sullivan knows he is sitting on a volcano, and he can’t take the heat.
    Thus, he might be creating conditions for a last hurrah of nonsense from the enemies of justice who are the enemies of Flynn, who want to file amica with the court.
    Put another way, the judge is inviting the very circus he claim to want to avoid, in his Minute Order.
    Reason I’m not necessarily opposed to this circus is practical: more sunshine can be brought to this prosecution, this malicious and political perecution of Flynn – sunshine, via the DOJ release document after document that just piles onto the record DOJ/FBI/CIA lawlessness that was directed against and targeted Flynn. And perhaps other delicious nuggets, too.
    When the smoke clears, the fat lady finally sings, Sullivan can say or claim he did everything to give everyone their say, blah blah blah, and hope like hell everyone forgets this Pirate’s dereliction of duty, as a judge with a lifetime appointment.
    Perhaps, should this show go on, we might discover why Contreras mysteriously recused himself right after the Flynn pleas.
    Perhaps we will read all of the Covington law firm Eric Holder and Michael Chertoff emails, and what they were saying about Flynn, the good, the bad, the ugly.
    And, since Barry decided to directly and publicly insert himself in this fiasco last week, with his remark about Flynn and “perjury,” who knows what other documents will be filed on the docket. [Obama’s pre meditated use of “perjury” when he knows it was not about that, indicates just how sinister his public involvement now is.]
    I would like to see all of Sullivan’s communications, work related and private, involving the Flynn case.
    Please file all of them on the docket, Judge Sullivan, un-redacted, you who opened this can of worms. [So we can see if you, by your own “standards” might be a “security threat” or “sold out your country,” etc.]
    Sullivan didn’t start this fire; he did pour gasoline on it.
    “. . . .Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. . . .”[Epistle to the Galatians]

  4. BillWade says:

    Deap, The Ambassador to San Marino, pretty strange that but his boss isn’t on the list, that might be strange too. Am wondering if the Ambassador to the UN, good ole “Sam”, reports to the Sec of State.

  5. JP Billen says:

    So did 16 asked for unmasking, or 39? If 16, then which of the 39 listed?

  6. Deap says:

    John Phillips – Ambassador to San Marino – did he have any connections to Joseph Mifsud and the now infamous Link Univ in Rome?
    WIKI: Phillips invested in a group of houses (a “borgo,” or village) in Tuscany in 2001 that were more than 800 years old and were in a ruined state.[13] He spent eight years restoring and improving the buildings and grounds, following strict historic preservation rules.
    The Borgo Finocchieto, which has a total of 22 bedrooms (Borgo Finocchieto in Bibbiano, Buonconvento), is designed to host groups, small conferences and educational programs, loosely based on the Aspen Institute model.[14]
    Phillips was a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome from 2009 to 2013.[15] He rejoined the board in March 2017 after he stepped down as ambassador.
    Before he became ambassador to Italy, he made more than 50 trips to Italy in the previous decade and has made approximately 100 separate trips to Italy in his lifetime.[1

  7. akaPatience says:

    I could use an explanation of the IMPLICATIONS of this revelation. Is it possible there’s nothing nefarious about someone who, for example, received a copy of Obama’s daily briefing in which Flynn may have been alluded to and therefore that person requested unmasking for a fuller understanding of the matter? It’s been reported that Obama exponentially expanded the numbers of people who were privy to his daily briefing.
    Does the fact that the FBI was undertaking a counterintelligence investigation of Gen. Flynn at the time, wrong/unethical as that may have been, give cover?
    Is there any legal jeopardy facing those whose names are on the list? If so, what?

  8. turcopolier says:

    aka Patience
    Whoever leaked the unmasked identity is liable for a felony charge carrying a ten year prison term

  9. JJackson says:

    It is a shame the time is only to the day, to the second would have been a lot more informative. If the requests are made digitally then it would be odd if only the day was captured. Repeat the request with 1 second resolution and then we need any and all communication between everyone on the list on the 14th of December, for starters.

  10. likbez says:

    There several fuzzy, unexplainable moments in this whole story:
    1. Why Flynn intentionally violated White House protocol for questioning of Trump administration officials? He was fired by Obama-Brennan mafia for questioning Obama policies and during this period he should obtain more or less complete understanding of the modus of operation of this mafia and should not have any illusions about them, should he ?
    2. How he did not sense the danger? Why no lawyer was present during the interview? It is impossible that Flynn did not understand that both Strzok and his boss were essentially plants from CIA in FBI and indirectly reported to Brennan ?
    3. Why in this chess party between former paratrooper and former DIA chief (who has a Master of Business Administration in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University) and such a sleazy, feminine second, if not third rate individual as Strzok, the simplest defensive move was to ask for transcripts of his talks with conversations with Kislyak was not used? Why Flynn so easily fall a victim of a primitive, textbook entrapment? It is inconceivable that he does not understand that such a full transcript exist. Why he behaved like a 17 year old detailed by a police officer?
    4. On Jan 23, 2017 Russiagate hysteria was in full bloom. So any normal individual would understand where are the legs of questions that Strzok asked him during the interview just based on this simple fact. Also it is unconceivable that neither he, not Trump has no information about the actions of Comey and his henchmen from former Flynn colleagues in DIA. Why no preemptive strikes against McCabe and Strzok plot were fired?
    5. How important was the fact that Comey and his henchmen have Flynn by the balls due to his lobbing efforts for Turkey in this whole story ?

  11. Fred says:

    Yes, if only Mueler had told us to the second when he knew this was a frame up. If only Biden had told us to a second when he was lying about knowing nothing, but in his defense it looks like he has the onset Alzheimers of to me and I don’t wish that on anybody, even him. While I’m at it if only Trey Gowdy had gotten off his ass and told everyone about this a few years ago; but then that might have hurt a book deal or whatever he gave up his seat in congress for. But then anything to cover for the institutional corruption. Maybe somebody can ask Mittens why he’s not invited to meetings at the adult table anymore, I’m sure he could tell us to the second when that came about.

  12. Now I’m wondering how many intelligence reports Flynn’s name appeared in? The only thing blocked on that list was the number of reports and it appears to be double digits. This is much more than just the Kislyak-Flynn conversations. Anyways, the FBI already had intercepts of those calls based on the ongoing CI investigation and had no need for unmasking the NSA reports. It would be helpful to have a synopsis of those NSA reports, but given Trump’s and Barr’s reluctance to declassify, i doubt we’ll see them.
    Deap, The Ambassador to San Marino is the Ambassador to Italy who is also accredited to San Marino. It is not two separate people. We have several similar situations like that among African nations.

  13. turcopolier says:

    Flynn is a naïve Irish Catholic boy fm RI.

  14. Deap says:

    There is one hidden benefit leaving Flynn still “twisting slowly, slowly in the wind” for making a “false statement during a federal investigation”.
    His treatment at the hands of his own government will certainly resonate with those we now find on the unmasking list. They will soon be visited by federal investigators who will be asking them a lot of questions – no lying guys and gals. Look what could happen to you too.

  15. eakens says:

    PL – any thoughts on Neil Wiley?

  16. ambrit says:

    What was Flynn’s attitude towards the “Holy Land” at that time? Was he a threat to the Judea and Samaria clique?
    I can’t help but compare the treatment of Flynn to the treatment of Petraeus.

  17. turcopolier says:

    He was opposed to a lot of our commitments in the ME.

  18. turcopolier says:

    Don’t know him or about him.

  19. Alan says:

    And then you have the cryptic references to a “beautiful black sky”:
    […] McCabe wrote that Flynn seemed “completely normal” — even when, on three occasions, Flynn looked at the window and told agents, “What a beautiful black sky.”
    McCabe maintained that Flynn made that memorable comment three times — first, at “noon,” then an hour later, and then one more time shortly after that. However, McCabe’s timeline in the book appeared to contradict the sentencing memorandum filed late last year by Flynn’s attorneys, citing government documents.
    I hadn’t known about this until I saw a tweet by Jack Flynn referencing the lyrics to this song dedicated to Flynn by JT Wilde, the very same day the DOJ asked for the charges to be dropped:
    Beautiful Black Sky
    Sometimes a Storm is needed
    To clean out all of the snakes
    When the warning is not heeded
    And there is nothing left to take…
    What a beautiful black sky
    Un-Covering their lies
    sweet revenge takes time
    But, Where do you draw the line
    Nothing can stop it
    It’s on the way
    We gave you warnings
    As clear as day
    Such a beautiful black sky
    the snakes are not that cunning
    And not as deadly as you’d think
    And we are no longer running
    Yeah we’re hunting down the freaks
    What a beautiful black sky
    Un-Covering the lies
    sweet revenge takes time
    Where do you draw the line
    Nothing can stop it
    It’s on the way
    We gave you warnings
    As clear as day
    Such a beautiful black sky
    We can take them down
    In every city & town
    The storm is coming now
    They won’t hear a sound
    What a beautiful black sky
    Un-Covering all the lies
    sweet revenge takes time
    We’ve finally drawn the line
    Nothing can stop it
    It’s on the way
    We gave you warnings
    As clear as day
    What a beautiful black sky
    Such a beautiful black sky
    Why would he say this three times? Some ppl tried to add this to the supposed “300 iq” or “4-dimensional chess” game of Trump whenever he seems to be abandoning his promises, which I always considered doubtful, but I have to say that when I saw that tweet I had a very weird gut feeling, of the type that very rarely proves wrong. It seems the very same thing happened to McCabe when he heard about it. I truly have no idea what is going on here.

  20. Alan says:

    [Reading my post again and in the interest of total clarity, the song was obviously written and dedicated to General Flynn long after the witch-hunt started. But it shows that there are many digital soldiers who do an excellent job of keeping their eyes on the ball.]

  21. Fred says:

    “the FBI already had intercepts of those calls based on the ongoing CI investigation and had no need for unmasking the NSA reports”
    It isn’t people in the FBI that are requesting the unmasking. They also were not CI investigators either.

  22. Fred,
    Yes, there are a wide array of officials who requested unmasking of NSA reports outside of the FBI. Lets look at the kinds of officials who made these requests and make a guess about the subjects of those reports. BTW, there were near 10,000 unmaskings of NSA reports last year and close to 17,000 unmaskings in 2018. It’s a more common practice than I realized.
    So who was the first person listed who needed to know whoever “US PERS1” was on seven NSA reports: Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. Surely she would need to know the identity of who was on the payroll of Turkey and talking to Russian officials. Flynn also admitted to lying about talking to Russia about a UN vote that affected Israel among other things. Power would have needed to know that while she was lawfully executing the foreign policy of the United States, an unregistered foreign agent like Flynn was conspiring against her.
    On 30 November 2016, Flynn and Kushner met in Trump Tower with Kislyak. Any audio captured of that may have featured Flynn and Kush as USPERS1 and USPERS2 in the intercepts discussing the possibility of establishing back-channel communications, and, thus, Clapper,Brennan and Comey would want to know their identities.
    Three requesters are from the DOE. Perhaps they were interested in NSA reports concerning the shady nuclear deal with the Saudis that Flynn was involved with. Remember Flynn texting his partners that the US-Russian nuclear energy plan for the Mid-East was “good to go” with the Russian sanctions about to be eliminated?
    A number of the people asking to unmask the identity of a US person on some of those NSA intercepts were from the Department of the Treasury’s intelligence services – the guys who track down terrorist and spy financing. When the Turkish dictator bounces money off a Dutch corporation to pay your unregistered foreign agent firm in Alexandria, Virginia to kidnap US persons in Pennsylvania using paramilitary mercenaries that will catch FinCEN’s eye.
    I don’t know what report our Ambassador to Italy would be interested in. Nor do I know what Biden was interested in, but I am curious to know what it was. I’m hoping the Trump administration will release a summary of those reports in a diabolical plan to further own the libs. Come on, Flynn, MAGA up and take one for the team.

  23. Fred says:

    “Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. Surely she would need to know the identity of who was on the payroll of Turkey and talking to Russian officials.”
    So her former colleague in the Obama administration, Michael Flynn, was “on the payroll” of a foreign government and NATO ally, Turkey? That’s some fine inuendo. You are implying that he was directly employed by the Turkish government, but then do I really need to go through the notes to find which firm and when – soley during the FBI investigation, he was advised by the lawyers he had to replace – Covington and Burling – to file under FARA retroactively?
    “While he did not work directly for the Turkish government, the firm that hired him, Inovo, is owned by a Turkish-American businessman with links….”
    NYT, March 10, 2017,second link on google search term “flynn turkish government”
    Can you tell me if the UN ambassador maintained a log of all US persons employed by Turkey who spoke to the Russians? How about if they were employed by the French, Italians or Canadaians and spoke to Russian officials? She does have a list of all those, right? How many of those “near 10,000 unmaskings of NSA reports last year and close to 17,000 unmaskings in 2018. ” were done so the UN Ambassador would have something to do all day long.
    Anybody here know how to do a FOIA request, I may file one to get her list of unmaskings and the log of all US citizens “employed” by Turkey, or any other country, and spoke to Russian officials.
    10,000 unmaskings, how many were done by Samantha Power? How about Joe Biden, how many did he do?
    Over to you sir.

  24. Fred says:

    Update: Nothing to see here move along.
    “The graphic shows how the number of so-called “non-contents,” upstream queries under FISA Section 702 exploded between 2012 and 2016. These are the queries that enabled desk jockeys at the federal agencies and the NSC staff to view USPI – without having to record a formal unmasking request.”
    “The exposed contractors were very likely to be individuals from the same company who worked government contracts that that company held with both agencies.
    The company is the one John Brennan was president of from 2005 to 2009: The Analysis Corporation.”
    Remember “we’re all in this together”. … .That doesn’t sound too good right now.
    I’m sure it’s nothing.

  25. Fred,
    Since when have you become averse to innuendo? Let’s take Flynn at his word. He declared “under penalty of perjury” that his company’s Turkey Project “was for the benefit of the Republic of Turkey” and that” officials from the Republic of Turkey provided supervision and direction over the Turkey Project.” That improving business relations stuff was just a cover. Getting paid half a million through a cutout and a circuitous transfer route was part of that cover.
    I have no idea what kind of logs Power maintained or how may unmaskings she requested. She requested at least seven in a three month period so I think it would be safe to assume she requested more than 28 unmaskings a year. Probably more since this was just NSA reports. In my experience, most unmaskings are requested by intelligence analysts. I’d also be interested to see who is requesting all those unmaskings and the nature of the reports that triggered all those requests.
    I wrote around a dozen intelligence reports that referred to US persons over a three year period. I referred the identifying data on two of them directly to the FBI since they were crime/terrorist related. Over that time I received around twenty requests from various law enforcement and intelligence entities for “unmasking” of my reports. We never called it unmasking. I was unfamiliar with that term until Nunes raised it years ago.

  26. Fred says:

    You’re an expert in the art of information operations with years of US government experience behind you: I’m a guy who was invited to blog here and carry no “weight” to my insights on the art due to my experience in military service or civilian employment. Some inuendo in a post of mine isn’t going to have the impact one of yours is; or perhaps it does?
    “Getting paid half a million through a cutout and a circuitous transfer route ”
    When was he made aware of that, or did he know it up front? I think that is rather important and how is some consultant to conclude a company is a cut-out or not?
    “Under penalty of perjury” I believe all plea agreements include that language. Was he knowingly making a false statement of fact – agreeing that he lied to the FBI as charged while knowing he was innocent all the time, or coming to a false legal conclusion – based on the advise of lawyers from Covington & Burling – who did not demand it from the FBI and DOJ – who witheld it from his new lawyer – Sydney Powell?
    “…most unmaskings are requested by intelligence analysts. I’d also be interested to see who is requesting all those unmaskings and the nature of the reports that triggered all those requests.”
    I agree whole heartedly. It looks like an explosion of requests since Brennan started close collaboration between FBI and NCTC and which had contracting out to the company he founded, TAC. upstream queries under FISA Section 702 went from under 10,000 in 2013 to 30,000 in 2016. I wonder what they were when Romeny ran for office and if they pulled similar stunts on Senate and Congressional races?
    See here:

  27. Fred,
    Don’t sell yourself short on your skill at the art of innuendo. You do just fine.
    Flynn could very well have been unaware of how much his Turkey Project was tied to Erdogan’s government when it was first proposed. His business partner, Kian, could have been playing him for a gullible rube. However, on 19 September 2016, Flynn, Kian and Alptekin (head of the Inovo B.V., Flynn’s ostensible client) met with two Turkish government officials in NYC to discuss Gulen. If Flynn didn’t figure it out by then, he’s truly a grade A moron. But that could be. I bet he also suffered from delusions of grandeur and invincibility thinking he was a real Billy Badass from JSOC. It’s a common affliction there.
    Those rampant unmaskings and easily approved FISA warrants are a serious problem. The situation is a far cry from the first time I heard of a FISA warrant. Back in the late 90s, I represented the DIA collection side at regular interagency meetings on MOONLIGHT MAZE. For many weeks, we’d hear of the FBI’s progress, or lack of progress, in getting a warrant to look at a single US-based server that the Russians were using. I think it took almost two months of back and forth justification before the warrant was granted. There were no rubber stamps back then. Of course, this was when NSA people would run from the room whenever CIA or DIA would bring up a CONUS-based collection operation. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with US persons. They viewed it as akin to child molestation. God, how the times have changed.

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