James Woods lights up Obama official Ben Rhodes for calling the unmasking of Flynn ‘routine’

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In the past few days, we’ve learned more about the case surrounding former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn than we have over the past three years, and every bit of what we’ve discovered thus far should scare the daylights out of all Americans.

But unfortunately, not all Americans are united on the fact that it was wrong — legally, constitutionally, and morally — for our government to target an American citizen and set him up for rank political purposes.

It’s become patently obvious that the Obama administration targeted Flynn.

James Comey, the FBI director at the time, flippantly admitted in an interview to violating protocol in sending a pair of agents over to see Flynn in the White House — without telling him he was under investigation, thus alleviating the need for him to have an administration lawyer with him.

President Obama was briefed about all of this and more regarding the “Russian collusion” investigation during an early January 2017 meeting with some of his top law enforcement, intelligence community, and State Department officials.

And we know that unmasking — revealing the identity of American citizens under surveillance — has become so commonplace that even when their names are illegally leaked, we’re to think it’s no big deal.

At least, that’s what Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security under Obama during the time Flynn was being targeted, believes.

In a tweet Wednesday he accused acting Office of National Intelligence Director Richard Grenell of “leaking” the names of Obama-era officials who requested that Flynn be unmasked (so that his name could then be summarily linked out of context in relation to an otherwise innocent conversation he had with Russia’s top U.S. diplomat at the time).

Those names include Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former ODNI James Clapper, former Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, and Denis McDonough, then Obama’s chief of staff.

The crux of Rhodes’ tweet is that “routine” intelligence work was taking place in relation to Flynn, which, of course, implies that the unmasking and resultant leak of Flynn’s name are both ‘routine’ now as well.

Except that it shouldn’t be ‘routine,’ as actor James Woods reminded Rhodes.

Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, in a Twitter thread, explained how we’ve gotten to this point.


She’s correct on every point. Even Clapper admitted this week that he was unmasking Americans at least “once or twice a week” — but of course, he doesn’t recall anything about the Flynn unmasking.

Interestingly, the current intelligence apparatus and the manner in which it functions is the result of 1970s-era “reforms” meant to prevent the very progression that Attkisson pointed out. And she’s only the latest to voice concerns.

Back when Congress was debating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, Robert Bork, a former U.S. solicitor general and later unsuccessfully nominated to the Supreme Court by then-President Ronald Reagan, issued a prophetic warning about how the law wouldn’t be a ‘reform’ at all but rather a vehicle for abuse by authoritarians in power.

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal published March 9, 1978, Bork warned, “The proposed [FISA] reflects a certain light-headedness about the damage the reform bill will do to indispensable constitutional institutions.”

He further warned:

When an attorney general must decide for himself, without shield of a warrant, whether to authorize surveillance and must accept the consequences if things go wrong, there is likely to be more care taken. The statute, however, has the effect of immunizing everyone, and sooner or later that fact will be taken advantage of.

And he argued “the law would almost certainly increase unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information simply by greatly widening the circle of people with access to it” — which is precisely what happened to Mike Flynn.

Boy, were Bork and Woods both spot-on.


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Jon Dougherty


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