The camera feed to former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suddenly cut out while CNN‘s John Berman was pressing him to answer questions about leaks of classified information to the media, one day after a declassified memo revealed a list of Obama administration officials who made ‘unmasking’ requests regarding President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Included in the list are Clapper, former Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, and former CIA Director John Brennan. Notably, the requests began beforeFlynn’s call with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak – the classified details of which were leaked to the Washington Post in early 2017 as noted by the Washington Examiner.
“Asking for names, nothing wrong with that, unmasking in of itself, nothing wrong with that,” Berman said to Clapper. “Leaking classified information, and by definition, these phone calls were classified, that’s a problem, correct?”
Clapper, a CNN security analyst, responded “absolutely,” before the image froze and his screen went dark.
Once his feed was restored, Clapper insisted that he wasn’t the leaker.
“David Ignatius put out this famous column on Jan. 12 where he mentioned the phone call between Michael Flynn — the Dec. 29 phone call. Did you leak that information?” Berman asked. “I did not,” responded Clapper.”
Once Clapper was back, he was asked whether he leaked the Flynn call to David Ignatius. He says: “No, I did not.”
Clapper insisted during Thursday’s interview that unmasking a US citizen is a “routine thing” when “you have a valid foreign intelligence target engaging with a U.S. person.”
That said, he c ouldn’t remember what prompted the request “that was made on my behalf for unmasking” regarding Flynn, but that the “general concern” was over his engagement with Russians during the Trump team’s transition to the White House. Of course, as even Slate wrote back in 2017, “Meetings between the president-elect’s team and foreign officials are Normal,” but that “Negotiations that undermine a sitting president’s foreign policy are not unprecedented, but remain highly controversial and Not Normal.’
John Durham, the U.S. attorney picked by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia inquiry, is scrutinizing the Flynn unmaskings and subsequent leaks as part of his inquiry.
The Connecticut federal prosecutor is reportedly looking into a Jan. 12, 2017, article in the Washington Post by Ignatius, which said Flynn “cultivates close Russian contacts” and cited a “senior U.S. government official” who revealed Flynn had talked to former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016, which was the same day former President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian officials. It is likely that this revelation, and subsequent leaks about the alleged contents of Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak, were based on classified information. –Washington Examiner
And now, after destroying Flynn’s life in a perjury trap, the Obama all-stars are scrambling.