During the course of the House Intelligence Committee hearings, Rep. Trey Gowdy asked some very pointed questions to FBI Director James Comey.
Unfortunately for the South Carolina lawmaker, solid and straightforward answers were as rare as hen’s teeth during the course of the congressional inquiry.
While Gowdy was questioning Comey regarding what the legislator termed “the felonious dissemination of classified material,” Comey refused to answer if he ever briefed then-president Barack Obama regarding a legitimate and legal conversation former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn had with the Russian ambassador with the United States.
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As reported by CNBC;
Gowdy: Did you brief President Obama on — I’ll just ask you — did you brief President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?
Comey: I’m not going to get into either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations I had with the president, so I can’t answer that.
During the course of the Gowdy back-and-forth with the FBI director, the question arose as to who exactly the “unmasker” was who leaked to the press that Flynn had said conversation.
Despite Gowdy noting that General Flynn’s identity must have been protected by law, Comey refused to name who leaked the information to the press.
As reported by Fox News;
A key Republican lawmaker pressed hard Monday against the FBI director to name the chief suspects in the leaks of classified intelligence, but the G-man did not budge.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., grilled FBI boss James Comey in a dogged bid to determine specifically who could have told the press former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn turned up on surveillance audio, a development that led to his firing.
In a tense exchange, Gowdy, himself a former federal prosecutor, ticked off what sounded like his own short list of suspects. He asked which of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch and ex-White House adviser Ben Rhodes could have known Flynn was caught on tape conferring with the Russian ambassador.
Comey acknowledged all but Rhodes were privy to the information, the disclosing of which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Comey said he did not know if Rhodes had access to such information.
Gowdy said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is in place to protect national security and allows spying on certain foreign agents. Rules state that if an American with Constitutional protections is collaterally caught in such surveillance, his or her identity must be protected.
The fact the Flynn was caught on tape was reported by the Washington Post last year, citing “senior administration officials.” But Comey would not say if the FBI is investigating the apparent leak.