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Judicial Watch slaps NSA with FOIA suit to obtain records of Flynn unmasking requests

The organization is seeking records pertaining to unmasking requests submitted either by or on behalf of former Vice President Joe Biden and many others.

National Security Agency logo in 2006
National Security Agency logo in 2006
(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: October 29, 2020 - 6:35pm

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Judicial Watch has lodged a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit targeting the National Security Agency (NSA) in order to obtain records of requests from former Vice President Joe Biden and others to unmask Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.).

The government watchdog group said that it is filing the suit following the NSA's lack of response to a couple of September FOIA requests.

"The first request sought records about a January 12, 2017 request to 'unmask' Lieutenant General Flynn submitted to NSA by or on behalf of then-Vice President Joe Biden," the complaint states.

The other request sought records of Flynn unmasking requests submitted by or on behalf of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and many others.

Judicial Watch explained that the names and dates contained in the FOIA requests were extracted from a list that earlier this year was declassified and sent to Republican Sens. Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson by Richard Grenell while he was serving as Acting Director of National Intelligence.

“The requests by Joe Biden and President Obama’s chief of staff to unmask the identity of President Trump’s top national security adviser reek of corruption and abuse,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement included in a press release. “The documents about this illicit spy operation should be released immediately.”

Judicial Watch's complaint says that the NSA acknowledged getting the requests and indicated that it had assigned FOIA case numbers, but it has not yet produced the requested information.

"As of the date of this Complaint, NSA has not made a determination about whether it will comply with Plaintiff’s FOIA requests, notified Plaintiff of any determination, or notified Plaintiff of its right to appeal any adverse determination to the head of the agency,"  the complaint says. "Nor has NSA produced any records responsive to the requests, indicated when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production."

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