Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against a number of government agencies in an effort to procure records “related to the investigation of retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak,” they reported late Tuesday afternoon.
The lawsuit seeks to force the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of the Treasury to comply with a FOIA request that Judicial Watch made on January 25, 2017 — a request that went ignored by all three agencies. The original request asked for the following:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016 and the present.
This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation.
For purposes of clarification, please find enclosed a CNN report regarding the investigation, which cites information that was provided to CNN by members of the Intelligence Community.
Judicial Watch also requested records from the National Security Agency (NSA), who “refused to confirm or deny the existence” of the records in question.
Obviously, it stands to reason that the records exist; after all, Gen. Flynn was forced to resign, and CNN was reporting information as far back as January 23 that was given to them by government officials. The real question seems to be what exactly the records contain, and the intelligence community apparently doesn’t want that revealed. Why not?
The watchdog group filed a second lawsuit, this one solely against the CIA, demanding “an unclassified report assessing Russia’s interference in foreign elections, particularly across Europe.” The lawsuit helps to support Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), who has been trying since 2015 to get a version of the previously released report that the public could view. In December 2016, the Wall Street Journal printed Rep. Turner’s comments:
The fact that the administration is picking and choosing the information it releases and who they release it to ought to give everybody concern that the administration is manipulating this.
Rep. Turner accused the Obama administration of “cherry-picking” what it allowed the public to see; Judicial Watch agreed, and their lawsuits reflect their correct belief that We the People have a constitutional right to know what our government is doing.
This certainly isn’t the first time that the conservative watchdog group has gone up against the intelligence community. In October 2016, the Office of the Inspector General found that “White House operatives [were] slow-walking open records requests and wrongly punishing” Judicial Watch for asking about records in the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Are you sensing a pattern yet?
Even former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), in an op-ed piece on Fox this week, admitted that not only was his office wiretapped in 2011, but that he was not aware that the intelligence community was recording his calls until a reporter from the Washington Times played the recording for him in 2015 — two years after Rep. Kucinich left office.
Judicial Watch explains why these lawsuits are so important:
Using the IRS to harass political opponents is one thing. Getting the omnipresent apparatus of our spy agencies to target an incoming president is a threat several orders of magnitude greater.