(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch released 143 pages of new records today from the U.S. Department of Defense, showing extensive communications between the Pentagon’s Director of the Office of Net Assessment James Baker and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius.
Lawyers for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn alleged in a November 1, 2019, court filing that Baker “is believed to be the person who illegally leaked” to Ignatius the transcripts of Flynn’s December 29, 2016, telephone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. The Washington Post published Ignatius’ account of the calls on January 12, 2017, setting in motion a chain of events that lead to Flynn’s February 13, 2017, firing as National Security Advisor and subsequent prosecution for making false statements to the FBI about the calls. U.S. Attorney John Durham is reportedly investigating the leak of information targeting Flynn.
Citing “the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of the plea agreement,” in January 2020 Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, moved to withdraw Flynn’s 2017 guilty plea during the Mueller investigation. Flynn claims he felt forced to plead guilty “when his son was threatened with prosecution and he exhausted his financial resources.” Last week, prosecutors provided Flynn’s defense team with documentation of this threat, according to additional papers Flynn’s lawyers filed April 24, 2020, in support of the motion to withdraw.
Judicial Watch obtained the records in a November 2019 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOD failed to respond to a September 2019 request (Judicial Watch v. Department of Defense (No. 1:19-cv-03564)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- All calendar entries of Director James Baker of the Office of Net Assessment.
- All records of communications between ONA Director James Baker and reporter David Ignatius.
The time frame for the requested records was May 2015 through September 25, 2019.
The records include an exchange on February 16, 2016, with the subject line “Ignatius,” in which Baker tells Pentagon colleague Zachary Mears, then-deputy chief of staff to Obama Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, that he has “a long history with David” and talks with him regularly.