[3/14/17] JW– Using the IRS to harass political opponents is one thing. Getting the omnipresent apparatus of our spy agencies to target an incoming president is a threat several orders of magnitude greater.
In that regard, we have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury regarding records related to the investigation of retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency et al. (No.1:17-cv-00397)).
The National Security Agency refused to confirm or deny the existence of intelligence records about communications between Gen. Flynn and Amb. Kislyak.
We filed the lawsuit after the agencies failed to respond to our January 25, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016 and the present.
This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation.
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.
In our complaint we ask the court to order the agencies to search for all records responsive to our FOIA requests and demonstrate that the agency 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.
On January 23, 2017, CNN, among other media outlets, reported that the government was investigating Flynn, former national security adviser to President Trump:
The calls were captured by routine US eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats, according to the intelligence and law enforcement officials. But the officials said some of the content of the conversation raised enough potential concerns that investigators are still looking into the discussions, amid a broader concern about Russian intelligence-gathering activities in the United States.
The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.
FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said.
We then filed yet another related lawsuit this week, this one against the CIA only. Our lawsuit is a simple one, seeking an unclassified report assessing Russia’s interference in foreign elections (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:17-cv-00414)).
The CIA failed to respond to our December 14, 2016, FOIA request. (The agency’s response was due by January 24, 2017, at the latest.)
Here’s the background. On December 13, 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that since 2015 Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, “has been pushing for the unclassified version of a report assessing Moscow’s interference in foreign elections, particularly across Europe.” The Wall Street Journal further reports:
The White House already released a classified version of the assessment but Mr. Turner has been pushing for the unclassified version, which would be releasable to the public, he said. Mr. Turner sent the White House a letter … demanding for the unclassified version of the report.
“The fact that the administration is picking and choosing the information it releases and who they release it to ought to give everybody concern that the administration is manipulating this,” he said.
The report is critical for a better understanding of what Moscow is up to in elections overseas, he said. Mr. Turner said the Obama administration is cherry picking what it releases.
This report about Russia’s influence operations in Europe must not be helpful to the Obama anti-Trump Russia narrative – otherwise we wouldn’t have to sue in federal court to get it.
The illegal secrecy of the Obama administration’s anti-Trump Russia investigations must end.
And let me be clear: President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal.
We aim to get to the truth about these crimes, and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.
As I mentioned on television this week (see our appearances on Fox and Friends and The O’Reilly Factor), President Trump can get these documents out quickly. The permanent bureaucracies, or “deep state,” will obstruct but he can overcome this obstruction and finally enforce the transparency laws in the Executive Branch. If he does, it could lead to your JW uncovering another terrible abuse and potential crimes by the Obama administration.
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