Flynn Resigns As National Security Advisor (extract)
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Feb 13 2017
As we detailed previously, after last night’s news that Trump (and Steve Bannon) were actively deciding whether to fire National Security Advisor Mike Flynn over the recent scandal involving discussing the Russian sanctions in his phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, something he denied publicly on several occasions, yet which now appears to have been the case, the ice below Flynn had got thinner this afternoon when the Trump administration for the second consecutive day sent conflicting signals in its support for Flynn amid uncertainty whether Flynn misled Mike Pence about his conversations. Kellyanne Conway said in a television interview that Flynn “enjoyed the full confidence of the president.” About an hour later, Sean Spicer released a statement saying that Trump was “evaluating” the situation. Spicer said in an e-mailed statement:
He is speaking to Vice-Pres Pence relative to the conversation the vice-pres had with Gen Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is, our national security.
One day earlier, appearing on NBC Meet the Press, Trump adviser Stephen Miller declined to defend Flynn, saying:
It’s not for me to tell you what’s in the president’s mind.
Now, following the latest report in the WaPo, the young Trump administration may have no choice but to make Flynn the first casualty. According to the Bezos-owned publication, the acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to Pindostan” and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail.” The message was delivered by Sally Yates and was prompted by concerns that Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. It is unclear what White House counsel Donald McGahn did with the information. Former DNI Clapper and former DCI Brennan also reportedly shared Yates’ concerns about Flynn. They said Flynn had put himself in a compromising position. They agreed with Yates’ decision to warn the White House. All three believed Pence had a right to know that Flynn had possibly deceived him, and that they could not rule out the possibility he acted with the knowledge of other transition officials. Yates, who was then the deputy attorney general, considered Flynn’s comments during an intercepted phone call with Kislyak last December “highly significant” and “potentially illegal.” Trump fired Yates last month after she refused to have the DoJ defend his Muslim ban in court. A senior Trump administration official said that the White House was aware of problems with Flynn, adding: “We’ve been working on this for weeks.” The final nail in Flynn’s coffin came when someone told the NYT that the Army was investigating whether Flynn received money from the Russian government during a visit to Moscow in 2015, which might violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. They said there was no record that Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, filed the required paperwork for the trip.
The CIA Really Is Out to Get General Flynn
David ‘Spengler’ Goldman, PJ Media, Feb 13 2017
How come no-one is accusing NSA Director Michael Flynn of taking bribes from Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Not long ago, they did. Last Nov 18, Commentary Magazine’s Noah Rothman called Flynn a “dubious choice” for the NSC because his consulting company had a Turkish client, adding that Flynn’s views on Turkey raised a “conflict of interest.” Flynn had published an article in The Hill on Nov 8 warning that Pindostan’s dalliance with Gulen might undermine Turkey’s relationship with NATO. On Dec 2, I wrote in Asia Times that Commentary’s Rothman probably was stooging for a CIA disinformation campaign against Flynn. Not only did Flynn propose to deep-six Gulen, a long-standing friend of the CIA, but he had blown the whistle on CIA incompetence in Syria. Flynn’s DIA produced a now-notorious 2012 report warning that chaos in Syria’s civil war enabled the rise of a new Caliphate movement, viz Daesh (see here). Flynn humiliated the bungling CIA and exposed the incompetence and deception of the Obama administration, and got fired for it. If anyone doubts the depth of CIA incompetence in Syria, see here. In November, Flynn warned that Pindostan stood to lose its Turkish ally, to the benefit of Russia, and got attacked as a Turkish agent. That doesn’t square with the current round of disinformation, which paints Flynn as pro-Russian. Flynn’s detractors rely on a fake-news media which forgets the story it spun a couple of months ago when it contradicts the story it is spinning today. I don’t know why Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador about the incoming Trump administration’s prospective policy on sanctions, or what transpired in the White House regarding misstatements that Flynn may or may not have made about such discussions. Senior officials speak to their counterparts in other countries all the time, and for obvious reasons do not want these conversations to become public. But the intelligence community was taping Flynn’s discussions, and the transcripts (of whose existence we are told but whose contents we have not seen) were used to embarrass him. A couple of observations are in order. First, the allegation of various Democrats that Flynn violated the 1799 Logan Act is silly. No-one ever has been prosecuted under the Logan Act. It forbids Pindo citizens from communicating with foreign governments:
… with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with Pindostan, or to defeat the measures of Pindostan.
Flynn reportedly was talking about prospective policies of an administration that would take office in a matter of days. It is absurd to construe such discussions, whatever they may have contained, as an intent to undermine disputes with Pindostan. Second, two narratives are running simultaneously in the media which appear to support each other, but actually consist of entirely independent bubbles of hot air. One is that Flynn misspoke about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, an allegation I cannot evaluate but find neither important nor interesting. The second is that, as
retired intelligence officer disinfo artist John Schindler alleged today in the NY Observer, the Intelligence Community pushes back against a White House it considers leaky, untruthful and penetrated by the Kremlin. Not a single fact is presented in Schindler’s account nor in several similar accounts circulating in the media. What leaks? Penetrated by whom? Sen Joseph McCarthy could do better than that. Third, the CIA has gone out of its way to sandbag Flynn at the NSC. As Politico reports:
On Friday, one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the NSC, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, was informed that the CIA had rejected his request for an elite security clearance required for service on the NSC, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Townley held precisely the same security clearance at the DoD for seventeen years, yet he was blackballed without explanation. At DoD, Townley had a stellar reputation as a MENA expert, and the denial of his clearance is hard to explain except as bureaucratic backstabbing. Fourth, Flynn is the hardest of hardliners with respect to Russia within the Trump camp. In his 2016 book Field of Fight, co-authored with Michael Ledeen, Flynn warned:
There’s an international alliance of evil movements and countries that is working to destroy us. The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The unsubstantiated allegation that he presides over a “leaky” NSC tilting towards Russia makes no sense. The only leaks of which we know are politically motivated reports coming from the intelligence community designed to disrupt the normal workings of a democratic government, something that raises grave constitutional issues. Flynn is the one senior Pindo intelligence officer with the guts to blow the whistle on a series of catastrophic intelligence and operational failures. The available facts point to the conclusion that elements of the humiliated (and perhaps soon-to-be-unemployed) intelligence community is trying to exact vengeance against a principled and patriotic officer. When the Turkish smear against Flynn came out in November, I smelled a rat. The present affair stinks like a dumpster full of dead rats.