In one of his final moves as acting spy chief, Richard Grenell said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat was “cherry-picking” the intelligence he wanted to be made public.
Grenell, who was replaced by John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence, defended his work against claims that he was the one selectively declassifying material to benefit President Trump and his allies politically.
“My declassification determination was made in the interests of full transparency and public accountability given serious unanswered questions about the potential misuse of intelligence for partisan purposes following the 2016 election,” Grenell wrote in a one-page letter to Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking member of the intelligence panel. “The protection of intelligence sources and methods is always at the fore of any declassification decision which I might make. As you well know, the decision to declassify the names of individuals who sought to unmask the identity of General Flynn poses absolutely no risk of compromises of either sources or methods.”
This was a reference to the declassified National Security Agency document containing a list of dozens of Obama administration officials, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who were authorized recipients of information in response to “unmasking” requests that revealed former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s identity in surveillance intercepts. Flynn’s name was reportedly not masked in the FBI reports on his conversations with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period.