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Wall Street Journal: Acting intelligence chief has declassified names of Obama officials who ‘unmasked’ Flynn

FILE - In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

 (CNN) — Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified and may release a list of names of former Obama administration officials who allegedly requested the “unmasking” of Michael Flynn’s identity, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Citing a senior government official, the paper reported on Tuesday that there were “multiple requests” to reveal the former national security adviser’s identity between the 2016 presidential election and President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. The paper also reported that the official declined to say the number of people who requested Flynn’s identity, but mentioned there were several dates and circumstances.

While US citizens names are required to be kept secret in intel reports, senior officials do have the ability to ask for names to be revealed in certain circumstance to better understand the reports. In the past, some Obama officials have acknowledged requesting to identify people but have insisted there were legitimate reasons.

The decision to release the names was made by Grenell and came days after Attorney General William Barr’s decision to drop a criminal case against Flynn, the Journal reported. The official also said the names could be released at any time.

CNN has reached out to the office of the director of national intelligence about the report but has not received a response.

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On Thursday, the Justice Department filed a request to a federal judge to drop the case against Flynn, whose lies about his contacts with Russia prompted Trump to fire him three years ago. Flynn later flipped on Trump, pleaded guilty to lying, and cooperated in the Russia investigation. But he reversed course last year, started attacking the Russia investigation, and tried to undo his guilty plea.

The court must formally approve the DOJ’s request to dismiss the case.

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