UPDATED 10:16 AM PT — Thursday, May 14, 2020
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed it’s routine to unmask officials during intelligence investigations. He made the comments in an interview Thursday after he was named in a list of officials who may have sought information on General Michael Flynn during the Russia probe.
Clapper claimed officials have no way of knowing a person’s identity before unmasking and dismissed reports suggesting Obama-era officials specifically targeted Flynn.
“When you see these reports, to understand the context and the importance of what’s going on, you almost have to have the actual name,”Clapper stated. “You don’t know who it is in advance, so in my case the list cites…three occasions where I requested unmasking, which turned out to be Mike Flynn.”
The former Director of National Intelligence added that he’s “happy” to testify before the upper chamber after Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham called for a hearing on the matter.
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.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 13, 2020
Other officials on the released listed included former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden.