Six Facts We Learned from the Yates Hearing
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified last week in Congress. While the overarching media narrative focused on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s potential compromise by Russia, here are other important facts we learned:
1. Yates reviewed classified documents in which Flynn was “unmasked.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper whether they had ever reviewed classified documents where Trump, his associates, or members of Congress had been “unmasked” — or identified in intelligence intercepts — and whether they shared the information with anyone else.
Yates replied that she had reviewed such documents, and said: “In the course of the Flynn matter, I had discussions with other members of the intel community.”
This is important because it confirms that Flynn — or another Trump associate — was indeed unmasked, and that there should be an electronic trail showing who requested the unmasking and why.
While unmasking is not illegal, leaking classified information to the media is illegal. Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak on December 29 would later be leaked to the Washington Post.
Clapper said the number of people that can request unmasking of American citizens is “fairly limited, because it’s normally fairly high level officials.”