Here’s Why So Many Treasury Department Officials Requested Unmaskings of Gen. Flynn
We all wondered why the names of so many Obama Treasury Department officials appeared on the list of those who requested unmaskings of Gen. Michael Flynn’s telephone calls. The requests all came on December 14, 2016 and were made by then-Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (Lew made a second request on January 12, 2017), then-Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Arthur “Danny” McGlynn, then-Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary Mike Neufeld, then-Deputy Secretary Sarah Raskin, then-Under Secretary Nathan Sheets and then Acting Under Secretary Adam Szubin.
(Note: Sarah Raskin is married to anti-Trumper Rep. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin (D.-Md.), who served as one of the House Managers in the Senate impeachment trial.)
Powerline’s John Hinderaker may have found the answer in an Ohio Star article entitled “The Treasury Department Spied on Flynn, Manafort, and the Trump Family, Says Whistleblower.” The article states:
President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department regularly surveilled retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s financial records and transactions beginning in December 2015 and well into 2017, before, during and after when he served at the White House as President Donald Trump’s National Security Director, a former senior Treasury Department official, and veteran of the intelligence community, told the Star Newspapers.
“I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct” she said. “You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there.”
The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”
By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.
“When I showed it to her, what she said, ‘Oh, sh%t!’ and I knew right then and there that I was right – this was some shady stuff,” the whistleblower said.
“It wasn’t just him,” the whistleblower said. “They were targeting other U.S. citizens, as well.”
Only two names are listed in the whistleblower’s official paperwork, so the others must remain sealed, she said. The second name is Paul J. Manafort Jr., the one-time chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The other names include: Members of Congress, the most senior staffers on the 2016 Trump campaign and members of Trump’s family, she said.
Prior to serving as Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew had been Obama’s White House chief of staff. Hinderaker notes that Lew was unusually political.
Unlike Eric Ciaramella, this whistleblower’s request was repeatedly dismissed by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, Richard K. Delmar, who remains in office today. (Oh, President Trump?) The whistleblower told the Star she had submitted a formal complaint in March 2017. She said she had notified Delmar about the problem in August 2016.
In May 2017, she “filed a subsequent complaint with the Office of Special Counsel May 2017.” (This is the permanent office established to work with whistleblowers and is not related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.) She explained:
This surveillance program was run out of Treasury’s Office of Intelligence Analysis, which was then under the leadership of S. Leslie Ireland. Ireland came to OIA in 2010 after a long tenure at the Central Intelligence Agency and a one-year stint as Obama’s daily in-person intelligence briefer.
The whistleblower said Treasury should never have been part of the unmasking of Flynn, because its surveillance operation was off-the-books. That is to say, the Justice Department never gave the required approval to the Treasury program, and so there were no guidelines, approvals nor reports that would be associated with a DOJ-sanctioned domestic surveillance operation.
Patrick Conlon, the OIA director, who succeeded Ireland, was on the list of 37 Obama administration officials who either requested that Flynn’s name be unmasked or were shown the unmasked surveillance product.
“Accessing this information without approved and signed attorney general guidelines would violate U.S. persons constitutional rights and civil liberties,” she said.
“IC agencies have to adhere to Executive Order 12333, or as it is known in the community: E.O. 12-Triple-Three. Just because OIA does not have signed guidelines does not give them the power or right to operate as they want, if you want information on a U.S. person then work with the FBI on a Title III, if it is a U.S. person involved with a foreign entity then follow the correct process for a FISA, but without signed AG guidelines you cannot even get started,” she said. Title III refers to the FBI authority to electronically surveil Americans.
Because the intercepts from Flynn’s Dec. 29, 2016 phone call with the Russian ambassador Sergei were captured by an entity other than Treasury, Patrick Conlon, the OIA director, who succeeded Ireland, was on the list of 37 Obama administration officials who either requested that Flynn’s name be unmasked or were shown the unmasked surveillance product.
Conlon accessed the Flynn file Dec. 14, 2016.
There must have been some kind of meeting that day.
None of this is surprising, especially after the Obama IRS’ targeting of conservative groups for two years prior to the 2012 presidential election. We all remember the image of Lois Lerner invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before Congress.
By 2015-2016, Obama had politicized every government agency. Most, if not all, agencies were led and primarily staffed by bureaucrats who all shared the same goal. That was to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency and following his victory, the goal changed to removing him office by any means necessary.