“The Iowa Republican on Thursday sent a follow-up letter to the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment Thursday asking about the actions of James Baker, its director since early 2015. ONA is the Pentagon’s internal think tank, gaming out military and other geopolitical scenarios decades into the future.
Last month, a Defense Department official denied allegations that Baker leaked classified information to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius related to Flynn’s conversations with then Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak, during the 2016-17 transition period before President Trump took office.
Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, responding to a November court filing, said Baker is “believed” to be behind the leaks that are part of the focus of the Russia investigation inquiry spearheaded by U.S. Attorney John Durham.
“The reference by the defense team for Mr. Flynn was a note in their court filing. At no time since that filing has anyone within the DoD or the DOJ investigated Mr. Baker, nor given any credence to this ‘belief,’” a DoD official told the Washington Examiner.
However, documents revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests by Judicial Watch, show Baker regularly conversed with Ignatius, whose Jan. 12, 2017, column first detailed Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak during the presidential transition. A follow-up article was written by the Washington Post on Feb. 9, 2017.
Grassley writes to Baker in his June 18 letter:
“Included in these 143 pages of email communications are several heavily redacted communications between you and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and Deputy Director of ONA, David Epstein, which would presumably be about Ignatius given the subject matter of the Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request.”
He continues, “Given the overlap in time between the majority of the emails and the leak of the call, your apparent close relationship with Mr. Ignatius, and your communications with Mr. Work and Mr. Epstein, please provide all 143 pages of email communications in unredacted form and all email communications among and between you, Mr. Work, Mr. Epstein, and Mr. Ignatius from July 1, 2016, to March 1, 2017, no later than July 2, 2020.”
Grassley asks, among other questions of Baker: “Did you provide any information relating to any Flynn-Kislyak call to the media? If so, what information?”