Rep. Trey Gowdy said that Obama administration officials, including the former president, were potential sources of leaks. Gowdy was speaking during Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearing.
He was questioning FBI Director James Comey during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing as part of its investigation into Russian interference with the U.S. election.
Gowdy used his time to focus on recent leaks of classified information to journalists. He raised specific names of people from the former administration to show they had access to leaked classified material.
This implied that they might have been sources of the leaks. Gowdy asked the FBI Director if he briefed President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn.
Gowdy was referring specifically to leaked information regarding a phone call between Flynn, and the ambassador to Russia during the transition period.
The reports said that Flynn had discussed sanctions and the discovery ultimately led to his resignation. Gowdy said that unmasking Flynn’s name was a felony.
This is because it was part of a confidential intelligence gathering and had previously been masked to protect his identity. Comey responded by saying that he can’t answer that question.
Gowdy also mentioned a list of people who had held high-ranking positions in the Obama administration.
Most of them were heads of government agencies. He asked whether each would have had access to the “unmasked” name.
Gowdy mentioned the former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former White House adviser Ben Rhodes, former attorney general Loretta Lynch and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates.
The FBI Director said that most of them would have some level of access. He also said that he did not know about Rhodes.
Gowdy said that the leaders had evil motives. Gowdy was after a number of people at high levels of the government who had the ability to unmask.
The National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said earlier in the hearing that 20 people in the NSA had the ability to unmask.
The FBI Director said that he did not know the exact number in the FBI. He also mentioned that the number was likely more in the FBI compared to the NSA.
Gowdy also asked Comey if the investigation into the leak of classified information had begun.
Comey responded by saying that he couldn’t say because he didn't want to confirm whether that was classified information.
Gowdy insisted that Comey should investigate the leaks to make sure that classified information wasn't released in the future.<<Back