Congressman Trey Gowdy interrogated the Director of the FBI recently at a hearing on Monday regarding who exposed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn as the person contacting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn was asked to file his resignation before Trump was sworn in and after a dossier emerged of Flynn discussing with the Ambassador of Russia.
“It’s our practice, approved by the FISA court, of removing the names of U.S. persons to protect their privacy and their identity, unless it hits certain exceptions,” noted James Comey.
“Masking means … I’ll often see an intelligence report from NSA that will say, U.S. person number one, U.S. person number two, U.S. person number three and there’s no further identification on the document,” he added.
At the beginning of the hearing, National Security head Mike Rogers said to Gowdy that 20 people of the NSA were at liberty to expose the identity of citizens monitored under FISA.
After the South Carolina congressman inquired how many people within the FBI had the authority to do that, Comey said, “I don’t know for sure as I sit here.”
Gowdy then slammed Comey on who is culpable for revealing to the media that Flynn was in the surveillance audio with the Russian ambassador, an action that is charged with up to 10 years in jail. The congressman then pointed to Barack Obama and six of his staffers as the potential sources of these leaks to the media.
“Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post?” Trey questioned the FBI head.
“In some circumstances, sure, he was the director of national intelligence,” replied James Comey, but refused to comment, like many times over during the testimony, in detail regarding Michael Flynn’s case.