When it came to Flynn, it seems everyone on the Obama team wanted 'in'

Thanks to interim director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, we can finally see which people in the Obama administration unmasked General Michael Flynn's name.  Twenty-six names turned up, with some of them making multiple requests.  We've heard about the big guys (Biden, Brennan, Clapper, etc.), but what's also interesting is how many people were looking into Flynn who seemingly had no reason to do so.  This should disturb us all.

To understand why these many requests point to serious problems in the Obama White House and American intelligence, you have to know how unmasking works.  The government routinely spies on written or spoken conversations involving foreign actors.  If Americans participate in or are mentioned, their names are considered "incidental" until proven otherwise and their identities masked to protect their privacy.

The National Intelligence Agency will distribute communications with masked people to government officials on a need-to-know basis.  The officials, in turn, can request unmasking, but only if the officials are acting within their mandate and are seeking the name on a need-to-know basis.  Admiral Mike Rogers explains:

We learned today that twenty-six Obama-era officials, from Vice President Biden on down, felt that they had the mandate and the need to know about General Flynn:

DNI Declassifies List Of Ob... by The Federalist on Scribd

We're very familiar with some names: Biden, Comey, Brennan, and Clapper.  The latter three were known to have been involved with the Russia hoax.  Up until today, Biden had tried to claim he had nothing to do with it.

In an interview before the names were released, Biden reluctantly admitted that he knew about the Flynn investigation — but only after he was reminded of the fact. Trump's team instantly attacked Biden’s "limp" effort to avoid involvement:

PJ Media's Stephen Green asked the best question: "But what did the Vice President forget, and when did he forget it?"

Meanwhile, Joe Biden's spokesperson savaged Catherine Herridge, the CBS journalist who did what journalists are supposed to do, which is dig for genuine facts and give them to the public:

So that’s Biden. What about the others?

Denis McDonough was Obama's chief of staff.  He was the president's closest daily assistant and gatekeeper.  That does not mean that Flynn's allegedly wrongful dealings with Russia came within his purview.

Samantha Power was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.  In the waning days of the Obama administration, she unmasked hundreds of names, none of which fell within her areas of responsibility.  She later alleged under oath that she had "no recollection of making a request related to General Flynn."

Kelly Degnan was the deputy executive secretary for John Kerry.  Why was she involved in this intelligence matter?

Patrick Conlon was the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.  That means he was the White House liaison with other government entities within America (states, counties, tribal, etc.).  It's impossible to imagine how Flynn's activities would involve him.

Six people (!) from the Treasury Department wanted to know about Flynn.  Even if we concede that Treasury somehow felt that Flynn's conduct intersected with its responsibilities, did that really mean that six people needed to pry?

Seven people connected with NATO wanted Flynn unmasked.  One can make the argument that, because the Obama administration made the risible claim that Flynn was a Russian spy, NATO officials would be interested in him, but why seven people?  That again seems like overkill.

The ambassadors to Russia and Turkey arguably had genuine interests, given the false allegations about Flynn, but why was the deputy secretary of Energy prying?

The above questions all rely on logic.  Mollie Hemingway went a step farther and asked an actual intelligence professional who was also surprised by the free-for-all:

And if you want something truly crazy, it turns out that Flynn's name was not masked in the first place for either Obama or his top officials, making these unmaskings unnecessary.  Nevertheless, numerous Obama officials freely violated Flynn's civil rights, and the security apparatus let them.  Heads should roll but probably won't.

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