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Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Watchdog Sues Intelligence Agencies for Flynn Leak Records
Judicial Watch president says 'Trump is onto something,'
illegal disclosures are a 'scandal'
A conservative legal watchdog organization announced Monday that it had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of the Treasury to obtain records concerning the intelligence leaks that led to former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn’s resignation.
Flynn became the first casualty of President Donald Trump’s administration when he resigned Feb. 13 following the revelation that he had misled Vice President Pence concerning a phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Inauguration Day. Democrats and much of the mainstream media used the incident to reignite claims about ties between the administration and Moscow. Administration officials have been joined by some Republican lawmakers and national security experts in calling the real issue the leaking of sensitive government information.
“President Trump is onto something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal.”
Now Judicial Watch will sue several departments after the agencies ignored an initial FOIA request submitted Jan. 25.
“This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation,” Judicial Watch’s lawsuit reads. “For purposes of clarification, please find enclosed a CNN report regarding the investigation, which cites information that was provided to CNN by members of the Intelligence Community.”
The CNN report from Jan. 23 revealed that the government was in the process of investigating Flynn over his connections with the Russian officials. CNN noted that it had obtained this information from “intelligence and law enforcement officials” in late 2016.
CNN also noted that the FBI and other intelligence officials had briefed former President Obama about Flynn’s conversations prior to Trump’s inauguration.
After Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request, the National Security Agency informed the watchdog that it could “neither confirm nor deny the existence of such records.”
In its complaint, Judicial Watch requested that the court order the agencies in question “to search for all records responsive to its FOIA requests and demonstrate that they employed reasonable search methods; order the agencies to produce by a specific date all non-exempt records and a Vaughn index of all withheld records; and instruct the agencies to cease withholding all non-exempt records,” according to a prepared statement.
Judicial Watch’s announcement arrived two days after Trump accused his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower before the Nov. 8 presidential election. Although former Obama officials denied that he had ordered such surveillance, they did not deny that the wiretapping had occurred.
“President Trump is onto something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Judicial Watch aims to get to the truth about these crimes and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a member of the House Intelligence and Oversight committees, blamed the leaks for the Democratic Party’s rabid witch hunt, scouring for any hidden connections between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin to undermine the president’s administration.
"We know what we know in large part now because of an unauthorized leak of classified information. And I can't get the Democrats interested worth a damn in talking about the leaks," Gowdy said Monday on "The Laura Ingraham Show."
If Trump Tower was subject to surveillance in connection with the Russian controversy, Gowdy said the truth will soon be made apparent.
"The good news is there's a paper trail. There's a warrant. There's an application. There's judicial review, and right now the Justice Department is not controlled by President Obama," Gowdy said.