On Monday, Rep. Trey Gowdy questioned FBI Director James Comey as he testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Gowdy reportedly grilled Comey about who identified former Security Advisor Michael Flynn as the U.S. citizen speaking with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump was inaugurated.
Comey explained that only a few individuals have the authority to seek the identity of a U.S. citizen recorded during FISA surveillance.
“It’s our practice, approved by the FISA court, of removing the names of U.S. persons to protect their privacy and their identity, unless it hits certain exceptions,” he responded. “Masking means…I’ll often see an intelligence report from NSA that will say, U.S. person number one, U.S. person number two, U.S. person number three and there’s no further identification on the document.”
That same day, Director of National Security Mike Roger told Gowdy that 20 people within the NSA had the power Comey was describing. But when Gowdy asked Comey the same question, he responded, “I don’t know for sure as I sit here.”
Gowdy continued on with intense questioning, asking Comey who is responsible for telling the press it was Flynn in the audio—an act that is punishable with up to ten years in prison.
“Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post?” Gowdy pressed.
“In some circumstances, sure, he was the director of national intelligence,” Comey replied.
“I’m not gonna get into either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations I had with the president,” he responded. “So I can’t answer that.”